Tales of TFF

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by I. R. Shogun, May 22, 2007.

  1. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Kings of Spamopolis, Chapter 10: Wrath of Liv

    No sooner did the wall come down than the Former’s first strike was felt. Immediately a wave of earth rushed forward and flung the TFFers and countless books through the air as the brute charged forward. Ender caught himself mid air and came down with a rush of force against the beast, managing to force the Former to slide a few feet back from raw impact. The Former attempted a return swing, but Ender dashed away, unleashing dozens of energy blasts as he did, blinding the Former to Cyllieth and Firiath who approached and began their own assault against the villain.

    The Former swatted at the pair, but was unable to avoid a vicious Firi-flurry that even managed to daze him momentarily as Cyllieth rushed forward and landed the Cylli-ton Bolt. The Former staggered, but little else, wildly he swung at the pair, prompting Firiath to strike him with a full on Fist of the Firi Star, which nearly forced the beast out of the library, but with a motion of his arm the earth leapt forward and knocked them far back into the library. Ender now stepped in again but to his surprise he was grabbed by the Former, and slammed hard into the ground, and then once more tossed high into the air.

    At once the air surrounding the Former filled with massive purple orbs that at random began to bounce wildly about, throwing the Former around between them as they laid a constant bludgeoning barrage against him. When the duration of the attack ended the Former shook off the damage, only to realize that there was a rocket rapidly approaching his face. It seemed Odd didn’t need the Battle-Axe-Tar to use the Guitar-tillery. The Former stood dazed for a long moment as Odd dashed forward and delivered a hard kick to the center of his face, but this sadly had no effect on the Former.

    The beast laughed wildly ad he grabbed Odd by the leg and then spun round and round until he’d built up the momentum to send her flying deep into the library like a hammer. In a flash of mana and flames Sorillon appeared and caught her before she could receive a harsh landing, then warped back to the Former, unleashing a wild series of claw strikes. His blows seemed to hold little effect on the Former who clapped his hands against the head of Sor, grinning with a twisted satisfaction as the body of the skeletal warrior fell limply to the ground with his skull smashed.

    “Sor!” shouted Liv.

    “You needn’t worry about him,” said Vil. “He’ll get up soon.”

    “I’ve had about enough of this,” growled Liv.

    Before she got a chance to act on this rage Herald of Woe rushed forward with glaive in hand. With a whirl of the weapon he sent hundreds of wind currents at the Former, but the brutal beast charged through them, ignoring the pain as he rammed hard into the chest of HoW. Herald attempted to send out a quick breath, but was unable to spit out even the slightest syllable as his body was suddenly racked against the rows of bookshelves that hadn’t fallen yet.

    “Is that the best you can do TFFers? You’re more pathetic than you were before!” boasted the Former.

    “You haven’t seen anything yet,” said Liv as she appeared behind him, and then with a blow that seemed far too powerful for a woman her size she sent the Former tumbling.

    “Gah, what?!” growled the Former.

    “Surprised?” said Liv as she rushed forward and struck the Former with a wild flurry that visibly rocked the giant.

    By now Ender finally returned, but to his amazement it didn’t seem like he was entirely needed at this point, but there was something he could do yet.

    “Ender,” said Vil. “Gather the others and get them someplace safe, I will contact you once Liv has beaten this enemy.”

    Ender nodded comprehendingly and quickly set about this task. For the most part the others were able to gather themselves just fine, but still they had trouble leaving, for shear awe of the vicious display Liv was putting on.

    Liv growled slightly as she lifted the Former onto her shoulder and then flung herself and the beast into the air. The pair spun rapidly before she finally turned and descended again, driving the enemy hard into the ground. The earth may have been his weapon, but in that moment it did more damage to him than he could possibly have imagined that it ever would have. No sooner than his stood Liv kicked him hard in the jaw, sending him flipping through the air as she rapidly flew around him, viciously intercepting and striking him again and again until she finally struck him in the direction of the ground, driving him into it like a rail spike.

    The Former groaned as he slowly pulled himself free, but was quickly pulled loose and tossed again by Liv. The Former rose quickly this time, but as he turned to charge he felt a fiery heat explode against his head as an energy blast loosed from Liv’s hands struck him viciously in the chest and sent him skidding back. Liv followed this up by launching hundreds of blasts at him from all angles as she teleported her way all around, bashing the Former into a burned and well-cooked version of his usual self.

    The Former rose one more time, but this time not even Liv’s speed would enable her to inflict further damage, as he quickly fell to the ground with a loud thud. The others still hadn’t left yet, but it seemed there would be no need for that now. The Former wasn’t going to doing much for a very long time. Such was the incredible power of Librarian Liv within the walls of her Library.

    “Jeez Liv why don’t we just take a breather, he shouldn’t give you that much trouble,” said a stunned Ender.

    Liv turned to look at the awe on the faces of the others, at which she just smiled, until she noticed the damage that had been done to the library. “Well that’s no good,” she said.

    “I’m sure we can repair it easy enough,” said Herald. “After all this is finished the entire city will need rebuilding.”

    “No no, I’ll just do it now,” said Liv.

    “But, how?” asked Herald.

    “You’ve clearly never seen Liv in action,” said Firi.

    “Poof,” said Liv, and with a flick of her wrist the library was immediately back the way it was, with the addition of a very unconscious Terra Former laying in the middle.

    “Gods,” said Herald.

    “I knew she was powerful here, but eesh,” said Ender.

    “She is the master of this place,” said Sor as he suddenly rose, his head having apparently repaired itself since he was struck. “Within these walls she is all powerful.”

    “Note to self, never make Liv mad in a library,” said Ender.

    “You may not want to make her angry at all,” said Odd, recalling the incident shortly before Liv married Met where she’d soundly beaten both Met and Shogun in a feat of anger.

    “As good a place to start as any I suppose,” said Ender.

    Liv only smiled as she curled up now into a ball and began to roll around on the floor.

    “How is it that the most powerful people in this place are always so bizarre?” asked Herald.

    “It’s like that all over the place,” said Ender. “But there’s something more to it here.”

    “Well birds of a feather,” began Firiath.

    “Always have people to beat up on,” finished Cyllieth.

    “And if we weren’t strong enough to beat the bad guys where would we go to spam?” said Oddrun.

    “Indeed,” said Sor.

    “I guess there you have it,” said Ender. “A high concentration of crazy adds up to a whole lot of power.
     
  2. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Kings of Spamopolis, Chapter 11: Treasury Tussle

    Met growled as he chained the whirling kicks together in rapid succession, only to find that his opponent was able to dodge them all with equal ease. Chad08 was more difficult of an opponent than he originally figured. Chad’s punches hurt more than damn near anyone Met had ever faced, and he shrugged off every blow that he took like it was nothing. Met had hit him with everything aside from his top tier moves and he still kept coming, and even without having any real special abilities he was pushing Met past his old limits. Back in the day this type of battle would have thrilled him, right now it was only reminding him of how far out of practice he’d become.

    Chad finally managed to latch onto Met’s arm, and with a series of violent unforgiving motions bashed Met’s body into anything and everything in range. Try as he might Met couldn’t break free of his grasp, the pain began to mount up, Met felt the touch of Chad begin to sear his flesh, a strange unfamiliar pain that Met couldn’t help but squirm against. Still Chad punished him, Met fought against his grasp, frustrated at the pain, frustrated at Chad’s skill, frustrated to the point that he felt his body stop obeying his will, he felt his mind shifting to a level it had never gone to before.

    Met, what are you doing? Is this really all the strength you have? came the voice of the old man who had trained Met in the Wrath of Heaven.

    Master? He’s just so strong, I’ve never faced an opponent like him before, he’s not like any man I’ve ever encountered, he’s shut down several of my chi points, most of my major techniques are crippled. replied Met’s own voice.

    Flesh is flesh Met, just because he doesn’t show his pain doesn’t mean he has none. His powers may be unusual, but the key to our martial art is overcoming all obstacles, and never backing down. His style may be strange but he is still just a man, show him the depth of your powers, unleash the full strength of the Wrath of Heaven, open the floodgates of your heaven sent powers! Beckoned the voice of the old master.

    “Master…” Met heard his own voice.

    MET, OPEN YOUR EYES AND LET YOUR SPIRIT SURGE FORTH! demanded the old master.

    Met was suddenly snapped back to the reality of the moment, the violence that Chad was unleashing upon him, and then, suddenly, with a rapid motion of his arm it ceased. Chad stared at him for but a mere second before returning to his previous plan of a flurry of attacks, but somehow Met was able to ignore the blows that fell upon him, and with a flash of his aura suddenly struck out at his opponent with a vicious assault of his own. The attack began and ended without any exceptionally elaborate techniques, but rather a series of basic strikes executed with such perfection that Chad was sent sliding hard against the wall. He took a moment to shake off the damage, almost seeming surprised at Met’s sudden show of life, before going back on the attack, albeit a tad slower this time.

    Ros was having trouble of his own against the other officer of Project Badass present, Sergeant Samson. Samson sent his whip out like a bullet, poised to strike at Ros’ heart, but the swordsman side stepped the assault and strode in for a killing blow. Samson quickly slid far to the side, shifting the motion of the whip and slashing open the back of the hero of TFF. Ros stumbled, but he was far from being beaten that easily. He swung his blade, causing it to sing beautifully as it slashed at the air, all the while creating a deadly sharp current of wind that shot toward the soldier he fought.

    Samson slid aside yet again, then extended his free arm and fired a stream of flames that nearly licked at the cape of the swordsman who narrowly managed to twist away in time. As Ros recovered Samson closed in and hit him with a punishing shoulder thrust to the body sending the TFFer through the air and hard against the wall. Samson attempted to follow up with another thrust with his chain, this time making contact with Ros’ blade. Ros pulled and twisted, causing the two to be locked in a struggle to gain control of the weapons, each knowing well that this could easily be the deciding factor in this duel.

    Elsewhere in the building the remaining members of team 1 were facing off against the minions of Kain that had arrived at the treasury. As if facing off against Gorger and Putty, who had recently re-awakened since Dragn had put him under for a nap, wasn’t a taxing enough ordeal they had the added difficulty of facing off against Bucklingburger, and a fine warrior he was. The three of them were proving to be a very imposing force for the TFFers to deal with, although they still possessed the slight numbers advantage.

    Gorger laughed heartily as he plowed through the number of the TFFers, scattering them in a violent flurry, but they soon rose and went on the attack. Salazar blasted the big man with flames, ineffective, but distracting enough for Ka’al to connect with a powerful boot to the jaw of their tremendous enemy. Gorger staggered, only to finally fall when Sevi showered him in burning powder, turning the flesh a vicious shade of red as he struggled to rid himself of it.

    Putty, seeing its ally in danger quickly slammed against Sevi, flinging her through the air as it suddenly shot tendrils in all directions to strike at the TFFers and any Badass soldiers that had ventured too close. Dragn remedied this by blasting it with intense flames, which consumed all of the nearby oxygen, temporarily immobilizing the creature. Gorger rose again and tackled Dragn away, but for the moment the danger of the gelatinous villain was halted.

    Buck saw his opportunity now. Of all of the TFFers engaged in this part of the battle Ka’al seemed to be the most potent fighter, and so he became the target of the fierce grappler. Buck latched onto the wrist of Ka’al, and with a brute strength that the surprised warrior couldn’t hope to match he flung the warrior hard onto the floor, then dropped all of his weight hard across the chest and shoulder of Ka’al. The TFFer struggled, but did not scream out, he was far from beaten, as he showed with a tremendous blast from his free hand that sent Buck spinning through the air.

    Ka’al was soon back on his feet, and facing the charge of a very large, very angry Gorger. With no time to react Ka’al soon found himself flying through the air, unable to stop himself as he was bashed violently again and again against the ground and then hurled off into the distant rooms of the treasury. Salazar quickly jumped into the fight again now, stunning Gorger with a sudden use of his fireball technique, and then following up with a fierce kick to the jaw.

    Gorger staggered for a moment, but quickly found himself and went back on the attack, attempting to drown Salazar in a sea of flames that erupted from his mouth. This would have been successful had Sevi not quickly moved him out of the way of the fire, and then threw dozens of her deadly blades his way. Gorger cringed as he prepared, but to his delight the damage never came, and instead he found Putty had returned to the fight and caught the weapons mid-flight.

    Dragn saw that this trio would be able to overwhelm their number very quickly at this rate, he needed to take them all out very quickly. First he caged Putty within his fourth wall technique, smothering the creature once again, and then this time amplifying the spell to make sure it would stay up for several minutes. Gorger saw this and roared with rage, then rushed the wizard who simply pointed at him. There was a flash of colors that blinded the onlookers. When it was clear once more Dragn and Gorger had both collapsed, Dragn’s Sweet Release had proven perfectly effective.

    Buck saw the chaos of what had just occurred, he wasn’t about to go down like them, and so with a quick turn and a surprising amount of speed he immediately fled.

    The TFFers watched him go, and they toyed with the idea of helping to clean out what remained there, but at this point only two battles remained, and those two fights were far too important for them to go interrupting. So they would take Dragn back to the Library for medical attention, confident that Met and Ros would be able to overcome the remaining major enemies without any serious complications. They hoped that this would be the case at least, because there was a lot more riding on this battle than anyone truly realized.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2008
  3. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Kings of Spamopolis, Chapter 12: Evil Minds

    The heroes needed no more encouragement to rush forward. Those that recalled their last battle with him knew that giving him any sort of breathing room would only end badly. Those that hadn’t been there could sense the power that existed between the man himself and that armor that he wore, not to mention to sheer confidence he exuded even when facing down the full force of this many opposing warriors. Still as they moved forward Savage showed no fear, for a moment it almost seemed as if he were even more confident than before since he knew he’d be taking them all at once.

    The first to reach him were the wolves. Wolf, RW, and OR, and quickly they set their jaws upon him. Despite all of their strength they could put up no true resistance against him. With a fierce twist of his hips they were scattered, and he was immediately back in position to face his next attacker. Vic Valor reached him now, and lunged for his abdomen, but as his arms locked around the villain he found, much to his dismay, that not only was he unable to lift Savage, but Savage was by no means similarly afflicted. Without even a hint of a grunt he heaved Valor up and flung him hard into a row of desks.

    At this point the only group that he hadn’t demonstrated superiority over was squad 4, the Shogun Squad. H. R. quickly dove forward along the ground, extending her claws in hope of disemboweling him before he could hope to react. Unfortunately even with only one good eye Savage was able to see this coming and slide out of the way. H. R. recovered in time to avoid being punted away, but the relief of this was short lived. U. B. thrust her spear forward, but Savage dodged the strike and grabbed the weapon, and with a swift jerk pulled her into her clanswoman, knocking them both aside, and leaving only Kakashi to face Savage.

    “You there, boy, you look familiar, who are you?” asked Savage.

    “My name?” said a stunned Kakashi.

    “That would be the simplest form of introduction,” said Savage.

    Kakashi’s free eye narrowed, “My name is Kakashi, I am the student of I. R. Shogun.”

    “Ah yes, the fallen hero, so he trained a successor, I wonder if you’re half the warrior he was?” said Savage.

    “No warrior was a match for Shogun, but I think I’ll be more than enough to take you out,” said Kakashi.

    “You watch your mouth boy,” said Savage as he twirled the batons he carried. “I’ve beaten all of yours plenty in the past, one silly ninja doesn’t stand much chance alone.”

    “Who said I was alone?” said Kakashi as he took a low stance and was soon joined by multiple copies of himself.

    “Neat trick, but it won’t save you,” said Savage.

    “We’ll see,” said the Kakashis as they rushed forward.

    Savage prepared to rush forward as well, but to his surprise he was stopped, his extra arms refused to move, with a quick glance back he saw the reason, Valor had gotten up, and was holding the extra arms back. Savage turned again to find the Kakashi trio on him, and on the attack. With a quick swing of his left baton he disarmed the closest, and jabbed him in the solar plexus, causing him to crumble. The next caught a hard kick to the chest followed by a boost of the mechanism that allowed his power slide. The final and real Kakashi however managed to get in close, and planted an exploding tag on the super soldier, dashing away just in time.

    Savage was surprised by the blast, but he was unhurt, luckily the TFFer assault didn’t end there. Savage soon found himself lifted and hurled as a result of a mighty swing of his arms by Vic Valor, catapulting him into a wall. As soon as Savage had figured out what happened the Shogun girls were upon him, and opened fire with a vicious series of potent energy blasts. Savage was visibly rattled when the attacks ceased, allowing the wolves to get in close and tear into him. Unfortunately Savage didn’t stay stunned for nearly long enough for the damage to be done.

    Savage growled as he twisted his wrists to get a grip on the wolves on his arms, Wolf and OR, and with a violent pull flung them high into the air. As they were up Savage grabbed RW and threw her hard into the face of Valor, and then crashed his hands together, violently pounding the bodies of the beasts between them. Savage quickly gathered his batons as U. B., Kakashi, and H. R. came to fill the gap. As H. R. engaged him he easily misdirected her claw strikes, and answered with a hard head butt that punched right through her protective helmet. H. R.’s body became a momentary shield as Savage flung her at Kakashi, and then blasted U. B. with a dose of his gauntlet flamethrower.

    By now Vic Valor had recovered and carefully placed RW aside, and engaged the warrior who was manhandling the team. Valor didn’t get far, Savage quickly trained the extra arms against him, striking a vicious blow against the temple of the hero, and then closing in and executing a violent neck throw with the batons that floored Valor. Savage made sure that the warrior would participate no further by stomping the head of Valor into the floor.

    By now Wolf and H. R. Shogun had recovered and attacked, Savage again twisted the claws of H. R., this time continuing until they snapped free of the gauntlets she attached them to. Disarmed and surprised H. R. was easily bound by a cable shot from Savage’s armor and bashed into Wolf with a powerful swing that ended with the two of them being pounded brutally into the ground, and then kicked into a wall.

    Savage reacted now just in time to catch the lunging OR and deliver a punishing knee to his ribs, then toss him aside, leaving only two TFFers to face him. With a quick twirl of a baton he deflected the numerous shuriken that Kakashi sent his way, responding in kind with a hail of fast moving needles that sent the ninja skittering out of the way. U. B. Shogun attempted to capitalize on this distraction, but unfortunately this ended with her spear snapped by a kick from Savage, and a pair of mechanical arms against her body that sent her flying back.

    U. B. caught herself and drove forward, vanishing from sight as she did. Kakshi threw down a smoke bomb to do the same, but in seconds Savage forced them to return to sight with a powerful stomp of his foot that made even the air itself quiver. Now it was only a matter of seconds before he closed the distance between himself and Kakashi, quickly incapacitating the ninja, and then followed up by driving in with a devastating blow to the stomach of U. B.

    “It’s amazing,” said Savage as he lifted the limp form of U. B. by the neck, “That an authentic Shogun could be so disappointing when compared to one of the fabricated variety.”

    U. B. could hardly manage a perplexed look before being spiked onto the ground and kicked aside, just in time for the doors to burst open.

    “Well that was quite perfect timing,” said Savage, “Although I was hoping I would get a moment between beating them and facing you.”

    “What’s this? The great soldier needs a break between battles?” asked Antithesis with a hall full of beaten or killed Project Badass soldiers behind him, his shield and sword stained with blood.

    “Not quite,” said Savage. “But I would have rather enjoyed getting a quick smoke in.”

    “No matter,” said Antithesis. “It will all be over soon enough.”

    “You seem quite sure of yourself,” said Savage. “Or maybe you’ve got something else up your sleeve.”

    “Whatever could you mean?” asked Antithesis.

    “That boss of yours, I’ve done my homework, interesting man this, Kain,” said Savage. “But I’m here to tell you right now it’s not going to happen.”

    “Whatever it is that you’re babbling about couldn’t interest me less,” said Antithesis.

    “Cut the crap, I’ve studied your patterns, I may not be overly fond of this place, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let any idiot in a costume like that bring it all to an end,” said Savage. “That monster is where I want it to stay, and you won’t get it free unless it’s over my dead body.”

    “That can be arranged quite easily,” said Antithesis.

    “We’ll have to see about that,” said Savage. “I understand you couldn’t handle Meteorain. What makes you think you can hang with a man who nearly took out two defense forces?”

    “Simple,” said Antithesis. “I know every trick you can hope to muster, and how to stop it.”

    “Well, let’s see how you handle an old fashion ass whipping then,” grinned Savage as they squared off.
     
  4. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Chapter thirteen: Clash of the Villains

    Savage ginned as he and Antithesis circled. He was easily the larger of the two, but he’d seen in the tapes that Antithesis would be his better in terms of agility, and perhaps even speed. In spite of this Savage was quite certain that his armor and his experience would be more than enough to eliminate this pest. More importantly if he didn’t win here he may lose his best opportunity to nip Kain’s plots in the bud, before things got out of his ability to control.

    Kain had been responsible for the destruction of two entire countries, somehow not managing to age over the sixty years that had separated the two incidents. Now nearly ninety years removed from his last emergence he had come to Spamopolis, but a mere coup wasn’t going to be enough to satisfy his appetite for chaos. He was going for broke, he was going to try to destroy the entire universe, and if he was allowed to go unchecked for much longer, he might very well succeed. Savage had managed to discover a good deal of what Kain had in store, but some of the details still eluded him.

    Kain was close, very close, to opening a portal to another dimension. This alternate dimension wouldn’t be some random alternate reality; Kain was going to open a dimension that had only been linked to Spamopolis twice. The first time was several years ago, to lock away Super Shrew, who eventually managed to find his way out. The other, more recent time, had come on the heels of the first death of I. R. Shogun, and was the entry of the being Kain intended to liberate into that dimension. He was planning to unleash the /Umsmebr\ back onto the streets of Spamopolis, and somehow, he seemed to be planning to use that monster’s power to end all things. Savage may not have been a philanthropist, but he damn sure wasn’t going to let those plans come to fruition.

    Savage slide forward, flinging his extra arms even ahead of himself, forcing Antithesis to leap through, putting himself well within Savage’s arc. The General immediately lifted his leg, planting his knee hard into the midsection of Antithesis. The servant of Kain coughed hard, but managed to slam his shield hard into the temple of Savage, forcing him to back off and allowing Antithesis to draw a deep breath, before spitting it forward as a powerful wind torrent that forced Savage off of the ground and hard into the main podium of the council chamber.

    Savage quickly returned to his feet, quickly drawing his side arm, a small submachine gun, and firing a spray at Antithesis. The other villain hid behind his shield and then rolled forward in an attempt to deliver a telling blow to Savage. The general had other plans, and with a violent motion of his extra arm he connected hard to Antithesis’s head, sending him twisting through the air until he landed in a mangled heap. Savage slowly stalked toward the downed fighter, then lifted his limp body and sighed.

    “That wasn’t a very impressive showing my boy,” he said. Suddenly Antithesis’ eyes opened and he spat a strange green liquid into the eye of Savage who dropped him as he recoiled in pain.

    “Why general, it seems your instincts have faded,” said Antithesis as he drove his blade deep into the stomach of Savage.

    “Perhaps, but some things never go,” grunted Savage as he cracked his baton on the side of the head of Antithesis, then rained down blow after blow on the ribs and back of his downed enemy. Finally he ended this portion of his assault with a brutal kick that sent Antithesis’ body tumbling again through the air as Savage’s vision returned.

    “Well it’s good to know you’ve still got some fight left in you,” said Antithesis, whom Savage just realized was now unarmed. This realization came to a violent conclusion as Antithesis’ shield struck brutally against the back of the head of Savage who staggered forward, allowing Antithesis to pull his sword free and strike Savage across the face with the flat of the blade. As he stumbled Savage brutally impaled Antithesis with both of his extra arms, but it seemed Antithesis wasn’t done, and he soon exploded in a violent flurry of shrapnel, stunning and wounding the already maimed Savage.

    Savage coughed and gagged as he struggled to regain some sort of grasp of what had just happened, but by the time his vision recovered and he was able to comprehend his situation he was on the receiving end of a beating. Antithesis was able to batter and cut him with no difficulty despite his armor, and it didn’t seem as if Savage was going to be able to recover in time, but not all of his armor’s capabilities were voice activated.

    With an unforeseen amount of quickness Savage latched onto Antithesis and loosed five hundred thousand volts of electricity through the body of his foe. Antithesis screamed in agony as the jolt ripped through his body, threatening to shut the entire thing down if he didn’t break free of Savage’s grip. Luckily for Antithesis he was able to slip free and roll to evade an immediate follow up. “You’re wily old man, but you’ll find that you need more than a little bit of grit in your guts to beat me,” said Antithesis.

    “Not a problem,” said Savage as he fired a dart at Antithesis, who caught it with ease.

    “Poison? How quaint,” said Antithesis as he quickly studied the projectile.

    “How about this?” said Savage as a chain descended from his gauntlet and found its mark against the head of Antithesis, who staggered aside, only to be battered back again by Savage’s extra limbs.

    As Antithesis rose again Savage realized he was in trouble, the nanomachines that were keeping his body together were rapidly draining the power of his armor, if this battle kept up much longer he may lose, but that’s when luck struck. As if right on cue Antithesis touched a finger to his ear and spoke, as if to himself, “Hello? Yes… excellent… I’m on my way.”

    Antithesis looked up at the wounded form of Savage and smiled, “I do apologize general, but I must be going, there are other matters that demand my attention. Until the next.” And with a cloud of smoke he vanished.

    “Damn,” muttered Savage, “Next time…”

    The general did his best to sit up, but found this to be a vain struggle. The readout on his gauntlet flashed fiercely, demonstrating just how much damage he’d taken. He clicked on his communicator and spoke, “Samson, Thrall, get to me immediately, Solomon is down and I’m injured, we need to pull out and regroup for now,” he said.

    In a few minutes his backup would arrive and they’d return to the base, but Savage couldn’t help but wonder if they’d accomplished his other goals. Certainly he had failed to stop Antithesis, a mistake he wouldn’t make in the future, but perhaps they’d managed to take out some of Kain’s other henchmen, making the villain more vulnerable for Savage’s future plans. He would find out soon enough he supposed, but as his vision faded he hoped that at the very least the defense force had managed to stay alive.

    **********************************

    Not long after Savage pulled his troops out the other gang had vanished as well. The rioting had subsided just a day after it had begun, and the TFFers hadn’t managed to get any answers about what had happened. It was unlike Kain to send his forces out in such a random manner, and there was no way to trace what had been looted by whom in order to figure out what his goals may have been in all of that. Likewise as far as they’d known General Savage had been dead for months, seeing him return had produced even more questions now.

    Despite everything the TFFers had all made it out alive, even if they hadn’t managed to achieve much else. Still the people of the city were content to simply have a city still standing for them to come back to. Things seemed calm again for the first time since the tournament, and it seemed as if they could finally get around to figuring out a few things concerning Ka’al, and the Shogun women would finally be able to visit the burial site of their fallen family member. Now that things had winded down Kakashi stood alone on the outskirts of town looking up into the sky, recollecting on the shape of things.

    “How would you have handled it?” he asked aloud, thinking of coarse of the fallen leader of the Defense Force.

    “If he was anything like most of the family he would scour the streets until he personally found and assaulted anyone and everyone that was involved,” said H. R. Sylvus.

    “He wasn’t like most of us though,” said U. B. Shogun. “I. R. was always more concerned with keeping damage to a minimum than the rest of us.”

    “Yeah,” said H. R., “although he always had the biggest tendency to level things in a fight.”

    “He did have a lot of extra power to burn off at any given time,” said U. B.

    “Well,” said Kakashi, “Let’s just hope we don’t need all that power in the days to come.”
     
  5. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Chapter Fourteen: Aftermath

    Atop the mountain Ka’al sat, staring with unmoving eyes at the stone that marked the resting place of the only man to ever defeat him, as well as the one that marked the place he had rested for at least a brief period of time. How was it that he had returned? And more importantly, why? Ka’al remembered little of what had occurred before his death, though he knew that he must have been at least twenty-seven years old before that point, and since he’d returned all he knew was that he had not left Spamopolis, and he had been constantly haunted by the face of the man that he had killed and been killed by, I. R. Shogun. The guilt he felt over what had transpired then over a year ago had not been at all lessened with the arrival of his relatives, H. R. and U. B.

    By now the TFF Defense Force had accepted him as a member of the team, but his reception was not a warm one. As long as he lived they would regard him as the man who killed Shogun. He was beyond forgiveness, beyond redemption, but for now he was a necessary evil. His skills hadn’t dulled at all since his death, which made him invaluable since he and Meteorain were the only two that this held true for. However unlike Met, Ka’al didn’t know why his strength had remained. Even when battle arose he didn’t feel as if he were in the fight, but rather that something took hold of him, and drove him to violence.

    “Are you up here again?” came a voice from the path leading up to the gravesite, the voice of H. R. Sylvus.

    “Some men spend their lives running from their pasts,” said Ka’al. “I hope that mine will tell me how this happened.”

    “You know living in regret won’t change what happened,” said H. R. “I have a hard time believing he’d want anyone to regret his passing. Especially the guy who brought him down.”

    “Why is it that you and U. B. have been the most willing to put what happened in the past? When myself and the TFFers are unable to forget?” pondered Ka’al aloud.

    “The Shogun clan are warriors, fighting, and everything that can come with it, are part of our identity,” said H. R. “We don’t morn our dead, we just try to make sure that in every battle we honor their memory and sacrifices. I. R. led a good life, and he’s one of the greatest the clan ever produced. We can’t bring him back, so we have to do our best to make sure the afterlife is comfortable for him.”

    “I can’t help but think that he would have felt differently,” said Ka’al, “Had I slain one of the other TFFers.”

    “Maybe then, but you have to remember, a Shogun conducts his or herself differently as it applies to different people,” said H. R.

    “I’m afraid I’ll never be able to wrap my head around the way your clan functions,” said Ka’al.

    “Heh, only a Shogun understands a Shogun,” smiled H. R. For a moment there was a pleasant silence between them, but the presence of another would change all of that.

    “So this is it eh? The greatest champion this city has ever known, and he barely gets a plaque on a mountainside,” said the old man in heavy armor as he strode up onto the platform.

    “You,” growled Ka’al.

    “What the hell do you want?” demanded H. R.

    “To pay respects to one of the boldest men I have ever encountered,” replied General Savage as he laid a rose atop the grave of Shogun. “But I suppose I cannot say that this is all I’m here for.”

    “Speak up bastard,” said H. R.

    “The riots the other night, it’s no coincidence that my men and Kain’s attacked at the same time,” said Savage, his back still turned to them. However, if something isn’t done soon things will end up far worse than any riots could ever be.”

    “You call what happened a riot? You animals turned Spamopolis into a war-zone!” said Ka’al.

    “All things considered you are hardly in the place to condemn me my dear boy,” said Savage as he drew and lit a cigar from his pocket as he faced them. “Regardless, if everything continues as it will, then soon Kain will wipe TFF, and perhaps the entire universe out of existence.”

    “Why should we believe you?” said Ka’al.

    “Because my boy, if I wanted you or yours dead then there would be far more than one grave on this mountain,” said Savage. “And if it wasn’t beneficial to us both, I wouldn’t even mention this information.”

    “You’ve barely told us anything,” said H. R.

    “That my dear, is because you wouldn’t comprehend the full extent of the knowledge I have, I need someone who knows more about the history of this city,” said Savage.

    “You want Met?” asked Ka’al.

    “Very astute of you,” said Savage. “But one man alone won’t be enough. I need a meeting with you and all of the Defense Force.”

    “Why would we trust you with a meeting?” asked H. R.

    “Again, I wouldn’t waste my time with something like this for an attack as trivial as an ambush,” said Savage. “As much as it troubles me to say it, in order to achieve what I need achieved I need your help.”

    H. R. and Ka’al exchanged glances, but finally decided that if he hadn’t attacked yet he didn’t plan to. “Fine, when and where?” asked H. R.

    “Gather your team within the library,” said Savage as he left. “I’ll speak to you there once I’ve gathered my entourage.”

    ************************************

    “I don’t like it,” said Firiath.

    “Neither do I, but if someone like Savage is willing to meet us in the day in the library, then it must be important,” said Met.

    “Especially if he says he needs our help,” said Liv.

    “Seems that this Kain fellow is more dangerous than we originally thought,” said Rosgwak.

    “Anyone that can make Savage ask for help is more dangerous than anyone could immediately think,” said Kakashi.

    “One thing’s for sure, we’re going to need as much backup as we can get, if not for Savage than for Kain,” said Cyllieth.

    “We won’t have much problem drumming up some assistance,” said Met. “What I’m wondering is who else is going to crawl out of the woodwork for this one.”

    “And more importantly whose side they’re going to be on,” added Liv.
     
  6. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Chapter Fifteen: The Alliance is Formed

    Met and the others had been waiting in the library all day. It was unusual for Met to call together every member of the team into one place at any time, let alone to ask for outside allies as he had here, and this was enough to make everyone nervous. Captain Extremus, L0ri, Commander Masque, Vic Valor, and numerous other members of the coalition had gathered here based on Met’s reports on Savage’s past rampages, his current abilities and allies, and the fact that Savage had mentioned none other than the legendary /Umsmebr\. They had a feeling if Savage was being honest they’d need all the hands they could get to stop Kain, and if not, then they’d need them to take on Kain and Savage both.

    As noon rolled around any notions of deception on the part of Savage were dispelled. Under the mid-day sun the gleam of the armor of two soldiers of Project Badass were unmistakable. Savage came with only one man at his side, the silent sentry who had proven himself to be a match for Met, and by far the most dangerous ally in Savage’s employ, the warrior who was called Thrall. Of all of the major warriors under Savage Thrall had been the only one to avoid taking any notable injuries in the chaos of the riots some days before. There was something terrible about that man, and at the same time there was something unquestionably familiar about him, and to the TFFers, that was the part that made him the most frightening foe they’d faced save perhaps Super Shrew himself.

    As the pair entered the library the defenders of TFF immediately surrounded them, but despite this they seemed unconcerned. Savage, with a motion of his hand halted Thrall who waited by the door as the general walked alone through the gathered warriors and sat down at the table in the center of the room along with Extremus and Met.

    “Well gentlemen, I trust you both understand the gravity of the situation we now find ourselves in correct?” asked Savage as nonchalantly as if he sat in the center of a field of lambs.

    “How did you come up with this information if I might ask?” questioned L0ri from behind Extremus.

    “The Coalition aren’t the only ones with eyes around here, neither is Kain. I’ve had a network set up to keep an eye on everything that’s been going on around here since long before that group of alternate TFFers helped you take me out. All it took after that was making sure I still had eyes all over. I took some time to take a look at everything that our friend has been working on since he showed up here. If you take a look at it from the start there doesn’t seem to be any pattern. Everything from robbing jewelry stores to high-end weapons deals, arson, muscling in on other gangs, hell, he’s stolen over thirty-seven books from this very library. Everything he’s been working on is based on mage craft and inter-planar travel, and army building. He’s going to try to take us all out, everything that stands in his way, then he’s bringing out the big gun to wipe out everything everywhere,” explained Savage.

    “You’ve explained this before,” said Met. “Why should we trust you?”

    “Quite frankly Meteorain, you shouldn’t,” answered Savage as bluntly as possible.

    “Wha?” came the stunned reply from those who hadn’t been expecting this.

    “Make no mistake TFFers, I have no intentions of allying myself with you for any longer than I must. Kain is simply more of a problem for me than you are at the moment. And quite frankly it’s not very advantageous for me to have the entire universe eliminated. Once all of this is over expect me to hit you hard and fast. As soon as I’m able I’m planning on taking all of you out. Nothing personal, but it’s the business that I’m in,” said Savage.

    “Alright then,” said Liv. “Then how about this, how do we stop him? How far is he from finishing?”

    “Not far,” said Savage. “Luckily Kain seems to have a thing about methodical slowness. It could be a long time before he makes his next move to finish the last few steps in getting what he needs to finish his summoning machine.”

    “What steps would those be?” asked Extremus.

    “The obvious ones are building, which he’s undoubtedly doing right now,” said Savage. “Unfortunately after that he’ll only have two items that he still needs before he’ll be in position to bring back that awful beast.”

    “And just where would these items be?” asked Wolf.

    “One happens to be right here in Spamopolis, although there are three locations within the city we may find it. The Elven Pub, the Fortress of Niefldarth, and right here in the library,” said Savage. “The other happens to be in a far more interesting location.”

    “Interesting?” asked Met. “How interesting.”

    “Very interesting when you consider it’s in the heart of the Guild of Fellowship, where your lovely wife once led a mighty kingdom,” said Savage.

    “The guild?” said a surprised Kakashi.

    “Where?” demanded Liv.

    “I don’t know,” said Savage. “All I know is that whatever is in there will be the final component necessary for Kain, which means we need to get a team in there immediately, since Kain undoubtedly will do the same as soon as he learns about this meeting.”

    “Which will be…” L0ri began.

    “Soon enough that he’ll have a head start on us,” said Savage. “You need to send out a bulletin to everyone that is, has, or may one day be a member of the defense force, we need every body we can get to throw at this thing. There’s a damn good chance that a whole lot of people are going to die, and we’re going to need to make sure that a few casualties doesn’t mean the end of the earth.”

    “You talk about casualties like they’re nothing,” said U. B. Shogun.

    “Unfortunately in the grand scheme of things, and as far as the universe is concerned a few lives are entirely worthy of being sacrificed for the greater good,” said Savage. “As harsh as it may sound, it’s likely that we can count on at least a few deaths, on both of our teams.”

    “Not if I have anything to say about it,” said Met.

    “Then I damn sure hope you’ve got a whole lot of sway with the gods,” said Savage. “We’ll need it.”


    End of Kings of Spamopolis
     
  7. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    The Chase
    Part 1: Hunting

    Wolf looked back at the others as they trudged behind her. She often forgot that they were not so used to pushing themselves to the same limits that she was. They’d been on the move for three days without stopping, and while Ender had been able to keep up well enough none of the others had. They were getting tired, and at this point they were likely to need a daylong rest at least once they finally did stop. She believed that Savage’s force would likely already have arrived on the outskirts of the guild, they would be able to provide a kind of barrier for them while they rested, although Wolf hated leaving her group’s safety in the hands of any of Savage’s army. Unfortunately that was going to be their only choice.

    Wolf pushed them onward for the remainder of their journey, and as she expected the soldiers of their recent ally had beaten them there by a day. When she led her group, made up of two of the defense force’s squads, as well as Commander Masque and Rosgwak, she quickly found Savage’s representatives for this expedition, the mute Thrall, and the scarred warrior Sergeant Samson, who had a recent rivalry against Ros.

    “Isn’t your force a tad small for this type of operation?” asked Wolf.

    “It would seem that way,” said Samson. “However Thrall here will be more than enough to deal with any enemy that gets in our way. The only problem with our size will be the locating process.”

    “And how do you plan to make up for that?” asked Ender.

    “Heh…” said Samson. “The General’s plan for that task is a bit… lacking in tactical greatness.”

    “What do you mean?” asked Wolf.

    “Well he figures that there will be an awful lot of enemies here, searching for whatever component is lying in wait here,” said Samson.

    “Don’t tell me…” said Wolf. “We’re going to wait and let them find it, then try to wrestle it from their grip?”

    “Hence the reason we have so many monitors here,” said Samson. “We have scouts set all over the kingdom, the general believes that the enemy will let us know in due time when to make our move.”

    “What if Kain sees that coming?” asked Wolf.

    “Then we pray,” answered Solomon. “That whatever part is in Spamopolis is extremely vital to Kain, and that we find it first.”

    “Seems fool proof,” muttered Ender.

    “Unfortunately the budget for our operations isn’t nearly what it used to be,” said Samson. “And with so few troops left we aren’t able to make as wonderful plans as we could once upon a time.”

    “Your boss is sounding a lot like Shogun,” said Ender.

    “Hopefully we’ll be as lucky as he tended to be,” said Samson.

    The days that followed passed in an eager anticipation. As much as she hated it Wolf had no choice but to go along with the joke of a strategy Savage had lair out. Hopefully when they found the location of the component Ender, herself, and Thrall would be fast and effective enough to reach Kain’s forces and keep them occupied long enough for the others to arrive. Something told her that this was going to be one of the most painful battles that they’d had to go through in many years, a feeling that didn’t bode well with the small size of the force at her disposal.

    Finally, after three days of agonized waiting, the call came; they knew where Kain’s forces seemed very confident that whatever this item may have been was located. The defense force and the troop that Savage had sent, just over fifty warriors total, immediately mobilized for the location of the item. It was in the most visible place of all, the one place visible from all corners of the kingdom, the main keep of the castle itself, the heart of the land that comprised the fellowship.

    As they moved Wolf wondered how Met had convinced Liv not to come on this journey. She had been the queen of this place for the entirety of its prosperous period. She had faced many of the challenges of running the place that the warrior king found in Shogun would be unable to wrap his head around. Though these lands were empty of people now she still loved this place, Wolf knew that she did. There must have been something far greater at risk going on in Spamopolis itself, had there not been all of hell could not have kept Liv away from this guild.

    It was quite convenient actually, that the forces under Kain had found the item to be there, as it was a rather easy trek from one side of the kingdom to the other as it was, and the trip to the castle from where they’d set up camp days earlier was even more simple, unfortunately the obstacle that they faced in Kain’s army made up for that small convenience. Antithesis himself led this force, flanked by the Terra Former and a brigade of Kain’s ironclad forces, whose armor was nearly a rival for that of the Badass force.

    “How do we rush them?” asked Ender, who found no answer as Thrall quickly blew past him, flying high above the main army and straight to its heart, and Antithesis.

    “I guess that way works,” said Ender who quickly flew after Thrall, knowing full well that no lone warrior was capable of fighting effectively against Antithesis and the Former at the same time.

    “There go the power hitters,” said Herald of Woe.

    “Don’t worry about them,” said Samson. “There’re rushing the two biggest figures in the enemy’s force, that leaves the small fries to us. Troops, give ‘em hell!”

    “Your orders Wolf?” asked Masque.

    “It’s looking like we brawl our hearts out and hope for the best,” replied Wolf.

    “Just like the old days,” grinned Ros, referring to both the Defense Force and the pure fact that for the first time in a decade he was fighting with a fellow Shining Knight.

    “Sor, get into the castle, you’re the only one here who was part of the fellowship,” said Wolf. “and you’re the only one of us with a snowball’s chance in hell of finding whatever it is we came for despite all the little bastards that are going to be in there!”

    Sorillon nodded silently as he vanished into a mist that quickly made its way into the castle. Now the TFFers joined the Badass troop in the melee. Six TFFers and a cluster of Badass warriors stood against a small army of Kain’s devotees, nearly three hundred men and women who would gladly throw their lives away to serve their master’s greater purpose, while the power hitters from both sides slugged it out in a conflict between desperation and sheer confidence, a clash of ultimate consequence.

    The warriors of both sides fought with reckless abandon, tearing into each other with the purest of ferocity. Savage’s underlings and the TFFers gave far better than they got, but there was still a long battle ahead of them. This fight had the potential to shape the entire destiny of the entire universe, if they failed here, all hope may well have been lost, a notion that drove their fervor to a level that was above and beyond even the ferocity that would normally accompany a clash like this.

    Meanwhile, back in Spamopolis things were shaping up for another war of titans. The bulk of Savage’s army stood there, along with every living warrior that could be found who had ever claimed allegiance to the Defense Force. Meanwhile Kain’s forces were gathering in the secret places and hidden lairs, in a few hours they would strike with all the fury of a hurricane and the speed of a bullet. The strife that was soon to occur could very well spell the end of the gem of TFF, but this was a price that was well worth the future of all of mankind.

    However, while both sides were so completely focused on one another, there were others who lurked still in the shadows. Figures who had long been absent from the landscape of TFF, and who had a profound interest in what was occurring for a wide array of reasons. Some would side with the heroes of TFF, others would join the ranks of the armies of Kain, and still others had something else entirely in mind. The world would shake with the events that were soon to occur, and when all was said and done, nothing would ever be the same again.
     
  8. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Chapter 2: Waiting

    “Tell me again Savage,” said Met into the communicator, “Why we can’t just rip every one of these places apart trying to find the components here?”

    “If it could possibly be that simple I would already have retrieved the item Meteorain,” said Savage. “Unfortunately as it stands there’s something we’re missing, something that Kain most likely has, and will be entirely necessary to find whatever it is we’re guarding.”

    “So we just have to wait until he comes along to claim whatever it is we’re standing on top of?” asked Met.

    “Unfortunately that’s exactly it,” said Savage. “Hence the reason the vast majority of both of our forces are here.”

    Savage was currently set up in the remains of the old Elven Pub, broken down and rotten over the years. With him was his right hand man Colonel Solomon, as well as several of TFF’s mightiest warriors. Those TFFers with him were, oddly, the ones most prone to some degree of treachery for their own gain, Crusader, Warlock Lord, Ray Captain, and Legolas, along with those who were typically just there for the ride in uprisings, Liadan, Rhapsody of Serendai and Warrior Squirrel 21. Finally he had the royal pair themselves, Anakin and Padme, along with the one called Kenshin, an odd mix, especially considering Met had hand picked them to be on his team, Seemed he wanted to make sure Savage would have a hard time uniting them were he to try to lead them against TFF after this was all over.

    Met himself was posted at the ancient and foreboding Fortress of Niefldarth, and his team seemed to contain more of the power hitters of TFF and it’s allied groups. Among these warriors were Vic Valor, Ka’al, U. B. Shogun, H. R. Sylvus, Senekha and Kakashi. Rounding this team out were warriors of more specialized abilities, Dragon Queen, Ellemorpheus, and Salazar Slugger. It was wise to have that much power in one place, the strongest warriors needed to be out there, seeing as the third team, based on make and location, would be neigh unstoppable.

    That third team, set up in the Library, was led by Met’s wife, Olivia the Lamb. Within that place Liv had unlimited power, the likes of which dwarfed nearly any other being that had ever set foot in the city of Spamopolis. Her team was made up of several seasoned veterans of the force, although Savage would have preferred to have some of them on one of the other three squads. These members were Captain Extremus, Dragn9, Firiath, Cyllieth, and Oddrun. Supporting this team were the strategist L0ri, the ninja he knew little about Sevi, a man called Charlie, and the widow of I. R. Shogun, Disco Jezebel, whose unique abilities would make her a potent figure in the field of battles to come.

    “Any status report on the field team in that old guild?” asked Savage.

    “Nothing yet, but something tells me we should have given them more to work with,” said Liv.

    “Nonsense, we couldn’t spare anyone we have here,” said Savage.

    “And besides, unless Kain put everything he had out there we’ve got a strong enough force in Ender and Thrall alone to take on anything that he’d rally out there,” said Met.

    “I still have a bad feeling about this,” said Liv.

    “The end of the world will give you that,” said Met.

    “It’s not that feeling,” said Liv. “It just seems like we’re all missing something really important, something that could change the entire battlefield.”

    “Well the Admins are all out of town,” said Met.

    “I don’t know, it’s like we completely forgot something,” said Liv.

    “Well, if we did, we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it,” said Savage.

    “Hmm…” pondered Liv.

    “If it becomes a problem I’ll smash it to bits,” said Met. “Period.

    “Well when you put it like that why the hell am I here?” grinned Savage.

    “To avoid being smashed,” replied Met.

    “Fair enough,” said Savage.

    “We’ve just got a report from Wolf,” said Liv. “They’ve entered combat.”

    “Who with?” asked Met.

    “She says that Kain’s troops are being led by Antithesis and the Former,” said Liv. “No other notable enemies are there.”

    “Only two?” said Met.

    “They’re stretched thin,” said Savage. “Those two are his best, we can assume that that piece is far more valuable than this…” Savage’s frequency suddenly went dead.

    “Savage? Savage?! What the hell is happening?” demanded Met.

    “Readouts show a high level of activity from his location,” said Liv. “He’s fighting something strong, and he’s fighting a lot of them.”

    “Damn, guess Kain’s not waiting around like we thought,” said Met.

    “With that group Savage should be able to hold his own,” said Liv. “We need to worry about who’s where.”

    “Any way to figure that out?” asked Met.

    “None,” said Liv. “Until more enemies show up.”

    “Great system,” muttered Met.

    “I don’t know Meteorain,” came a voice that rumbled of pure darkness from behind Met. “It has a certain element of excitement to it don’t you think?”

    Met turned to face a figure whose body was wrapped in a slight shady aura that seemed to move after his main body. He had no cape, nor a mask, but one look at him and one could tell his simple attire was all he needed. His physique seemed ready to burst free of the silk bonds of his shirt and trousers that hung loosely around him. His raven hair was tied back in a loose ponytail, and his white facial hair managed to stick out despite the backdrop of his pale flesh. His eyes were as dark as the deepest reaches of the abyss, and those teeth of his were so perfect that they seemed carved from marble. Met momentarily had trouble standing in the presence of this man, this devil, this passed when he became used to his immense aura, though they’d never met his identity was unmistakable.

    “Liv, be on your guard, there’s going to be something very strong coming your way very soon,” said Met.

    “How do you know?” asked Liv.

    “Because I’m looking at the devil,” said Met. “And I can tell everything he’s thinking, like he wants me to know.”

    “What are you talking about?” asked Liv.

    “Kain is here,” said Met, only now realizing the looks of terror on the faces of those on his team. “And those eyes, those evil eyes, he’s speaking through them, and he’s telling me that there’s an old enemy coming to the library, one we haven’t seen in a long time.”

    “Enough of that,” said Kain as he raised his hand, and with a single gesture destroyed the communicator on Met’s wrist. “I want you to be focused Meteorain, I’ve been looking forward to this battle for a long time, I want to enjoy it when I beat you and your friends to a bloody pulp, and then claim the prize I have craved for so long.”

    “I won’t let you kill this world,” said Met.

    “It makes no difference,” said Kain. “But I do hope you will make this interesting.”
     
  9. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Chapter 3: Darkness and Might

    “Everyone get ready! We’ve got something coming fast!” shouted Liv to the many others who were waiting in the library.

    The many gathered TFFers scattered as they took their battle stations, but they were too slow. The enemy was upon them before anyone was prepared to fight, but even if they had been it seemed unlikely that they would be ready for the force that appeared to them now. Clad in many golden belts, stolen from hidden vaults and the very homes of the TFFers who stood as the mightiest of all, was a figure long thought dead. He was forged of the bodies of two beings, brothers, who had nearly annihilated the Defense Force in a fashion unlike any foe encountered before or since. He was two as he was one, he was the being called Matula, shrouded in darkness and as big as a mountain, his strength was unparalleled by any TFFer, perhaps the many there could even the odds, they would all soon see how strong the library truly was against the man who’d nearly killed all of the champions.

    “Ah the mighty TFF Defense Force, stronger than ever in number at least, perhaps the loss of your great leader will not be so crippling as it would normally be? Let me us see just how strong you are!” said the being with a double voice as he lumbered forward.

    In a blink dozens of blades buried themselves in the arm of the colossus, thrown by Sevi and Captain Extremus. Matula laughed as the weapons were absorbed into his form and then fired back upon the beings that had shot them. The heroes dodged, but their initial strike provided an opportunity for Oddrun to go for broke with a single focused attack. Tremendous speakers rose from the ground and with a single flick to her mighty gauntlet she fired upon Matula with her devastating Black Dirge. The attack was strong enough to level a mountain, and for a moment it even hurt the beast that stood against the TFFers. The creature toppled, but before a follow up could be made the shadows beneath Oddrun raised up and struck her arm with a wicked blade. With a cry she fell from the speakers, unable to strike another note.

    Matula rose with a cackle that echoed like thunder, “I recall you people hitting much harder, has the death of Shogun truly robbed you of your might? Then allow me to ease your pathetic existence of fear and doubt by stamping out your lives!” Matula reached forward, intent on crushing Oddrun with a single blow, but despite his power he was not unopposed. Extremus immediately stood in his path, holding off the attack with both blades drawn. Matula’s power was more than he could bear, they could all see that, but as the only ones who could react in time, Charlie and Sevi moved in Extremus was quickly crushed, Oddrun following in short order.

    “ODDRUN!” came a simultaneous call from Firiath and Cyllieth. The twin warriors drove forward, anger, hatred and sorrow burning in their eyes, they would leave everything they had behind to avenge this latest loss. Oddrun had been like a sister to them, just as years before Shogun had been a brother. They had refused to accept the killer of Shogun into the force, but they had not tried to destroy him, this was different, there was no redeeming this monster, which killed for the love of killing, they would destroy him, they had to. Firiath dispatched the fish she kept ready in the pouch at her hip as she came forward, but Matula merely laughed as his darkness enshrouded the creature, sending it to the nothingness of his shadows.

    “Come child, you shall join her soon,” said Matula as he gripped Firiath, squeezing impossibly tight in mere seconds. Firiath screamed as her body lit up, one final blaze of glory, funny, Shogun had always talked about something like this. Firiath’s body burst in a fierce Firi-spolsion, tearing the arm of the devil that held her apart, his scream shook the earth, but unlike millions of times before, Firiath didn’t reform. She was gone from them now, forever.

    “Insolent wench, may the darkness consume your soul as it did your form…” muttered Matula before he let out another violent scream of pain.

    His body was inconceivably lifted from the ground by a small figure beneath him, the other half of the rightful tag team champions, Cyllieth had now lost everything; everything but the will to fight. Tears streamed down her face as a fierce whirl-wind kicked up, tearing through the body of the fiend and lifting him high into the air before the strain of his mass became too much for Cyllieth to bear, she let go, only narrowly saved by a force grip by Dragn9. The villain had hardly made it nine feet into the library and already he had ended three TFFer lives, they needed to find something that would work against him soon.

    “Any ideas strategy whiz?” asked Dragn to L0ri, who stood next to him.

    “I don’t… it’s all happening too fast…” L0ri said in a weak voice, awestruck by the sheer might of this demon.

    “Shame,” said Dragn. “He’s too strong for this to just be the belts… ah well, now’s as good a time as any to die.” Dragn hurled forth spells of immeasurable fury, his mastery of the arcane growing only stronger in the time he’d spent away from TFF. The beast recoiled upon being struck with such power, but he was not rattled, he quickly regained his composure and charged forward again. Charlie stood in the demon’s way, but soon found himself a projectile, sent through the air, and shattering the body of the fragile woman Dragn had spoken to not a second before, just like that all but five heroes in the library had died, but where was the librarian?

    “You bastard!!!!!” shrieked Liv who now appeared from within the depths of the library, her body engulfed in a white light that created an aura like the shadows that surrounded Matula. She grappled the creature and with strength that showed no effort flung the beast through the air. The monster gasped, but caught himself harmlessly and charged Liv, quickly striking her to the ground, attacking her in this form that was equal in size to his own.

    “What in the name of the gods?” said an awestruck Jeze.

    “Damn, so its come to that…” muttered Dragn.

    “What?” asked Sevi.

    “Met and Liv both knew that there was no component here in the library,” said Dragn. “Liv IS the library, if it was here she would have known and gotten it by now. The only reason there was a team here was so that Kain would think he still had to look here. But damn it, we never expected anything like this… by the look of it Matula’s been jacked up on the same stuff we’ve found in all of Kain’s men, the essence of the /Umsmebr\, with powers like that he was too strong for Liv to handle simply drawing her powers from the Library and its core. She had to absorb the spirit of the library into herself so that she could access all of its powers. We’re looking at the purest form of power on TFF, the strength that originally defined Liv’s bloodline, magnified by the relative lack of use over the year allowing it to build up. If Liv was nearly godlike before this puts her a little above how strong Met’s become after all this time. After this battle she’ll have lost a lot of that power, but she’ll still be in the SX range easy.”

    “What does all that mean?” asked Jeze.

    “It means that we can’t do any more good here,” said Dragn. “We’re about as much help to her right now as an anthill on a battlefield, we need to grab Cylli and get out of here, go try to help Met’s or Savage’s teams.”

    “What about the library?” asked Sevi.

    “What about it?” replied Dragn. “Liv absorbed every last bit of its power, and its knowledge, you’ll notice the place has gotten smaller since she popped up, everything unnatural about this place has become one with Liv. Meaning that if Sor dies in the old guild he’ll appear reborn from Liv’s aura. His life is now directly tied to hers like it used to be to the library, and furthermore, now this place is just one of the many buildings in Spamopolis that might not be standing anymore when this is all over.”

    “What about Liv?” asked Jeze.

    “She’ll be fine, for the time being she’s the strongest living thing on the planet,” said Dragn. “She’ll beat Matula, and then she’ll find us, after all, now she’s damn near all knowing.”

    “You know an awful lot about this,” said Jeze.

    “One makes a habit of studying prophesy in the tower of high sorcery,” said Dragn. “Especially the last ones.”

    “You mean…” Sevi began, only to be cut off.

    “I don’t know if this is the last fight, prophesies have been avoided before, but at the very least this is the furthest I’ve gotten in my reading, and as one who knows the prophesies, I can’t change them myself, but I can help those who can,” said Dragn. “Now get Cylli, we need to get out of this area now.”
     
  10. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Chapter 4: Malignant Benefactor

    At the library Liv traded blows with a being powered by the belts of every champion TFF had ever known. In the ruins of the Fellowship guild Wolf and Ender led a desperate struggle against the mightiest underlings of the man called Kain. And in the Fortress of Neifledarth, Meteorain and his troops faced that very devil himself. Three powerful enemies had directly assaulted the only other source of might in the land of TFF, the old Elven Pub, and its defenders. Putty, Bucklingburger, and the Gorger, but what occurred following their arrival shocked everyone. In the blink of an eye these three were overpowered, not by the overwhelming might and numbers under Savage’s command, but by the one being no one had expected to get involved in this.

    “Pathetic,” hissed Super Shrew as he tossed aside the body of the Gorger, a hole in his chest having robbed him of life before the villain had even pulled his arm loose. “This is the brand of the fiends that have dared to challenge the entire universe? Their corpses aren’t even worthy of a landfill, has the great Defense Force truly fallen so, that the likes of these are able to constantly plague you? And you, Savage? Death could not claim you, and now you are in league with this pathetic lot? Truly the mighty have fallen far further than even I could have ever imagined.”

    Super Shrew looked the same as ever. The flat steel covering his jaw, revealing only his eyes and the flowing mane of brown hair atop his head. His red armor blazed like fire as those eyes, those eyes that felt like the sun gazed harshly upon the world that had given birth to him. His hands were exposed, revealing bony protrusions that acted as his fingers, allowing him to slash or crush at his leisure. A tattered black cape hung from his shoulders, the only purely cosmetic feature on his form, but it got the desired effect of fallen royalty, as Super Shrew saw himself to be the rightful god of the universe.

    “Dear God,” said Legolas. “He just killed all of them before we knew they were there… like they were nothing!”

    “On your toes elf,” said Crusader. “To him, we are nothing.”

    “Ah Crusader, the one my beloved nemesis once held as his chief role model, I see you are doing well,” said Super Shrew as he stepped forward, the warriors bearing the armor of Project Badass, all save Savage and Solomon, falling dead even as he walked. “And the so called sea god, and the elf king himself, perhaps there will be some splendor to this after all.”

    “Super Shrew, why do you show yourself here again?” demanded Anakin, stepping forth with light saber drawn.

    “Do my eyes deceive me? The King of all of this land addresses me by name? I am truly honored,” laughed the villain.

    “How dare you mock me,” growled Anakin. “If you’re in league with Kain then we’ll defeat you as well.”

    “Do not associate me with one so foolish as Kain,” said Super Shrew. “Unfortunately for you I did not come here to end you quickly, nor to fight by your side.”

    “Then why did you come here?” asked Savage.

    “For the past few months I have felt two great powers, familiar powers, that were calling to me, drawing me back to this place, that I might face some of the mightiest foes I have ever known, one has yet to return, the other, is being suppressed,” replied Super Shrew.

    “Suppressed?” asked Warlock, “Surely you speak of me, I have kept my powers low since they began to…”

    “Do not be so quick to promote your own false importance lowly lord of fish,” snapped Super Shrew. “Were you of any interest to me I would have snapped you in two long ago. No, this one is… not in the city at present, your pet I assume Savage?”

    “I’m surprised it took you this long to notice,” replied Savage as he lit a cigar. “It’s not often that the dead are made to walk again.”

    “Speak for yourself,” said Super Shrew, seeming more annoyed by this remark than any other. “Unfortunately what else approaches is far graver a threat.”

    “The /Umsmebr\? We know,” said Anakin.

    “Insolent fool, are you so foolish as to believe that I would be concerned by the presence of so lowly a wretch as that?!” roared Super Shrew, his voice booming in a way that would surpass thunder. “That pathetic thing, not even strong enough to break loose in many years from that prison dimension that I escaped in a week! Are you so short sighted that you believe that thing to be able to destroy the multiverse?! You are clearly king for your longevity rather than your wisdom!”

    “What are you talking about?” said Savage, appearing worried for the first time since Super Shrew arrived. “My scouts have reported everything, what else could Kain be summoning? Umber-Hitler was consumed by the world’s people, his form is too out of tact to be reborn.”

    “Savage you are as blind in your head as you are beneath that patch,” growled Super Shrew. “The /Umsmebr\ does approach, but his presence is merely to appease and to fuel the true aim to Kain’s plan, the bringer of the end of days.”

    “Who?!” cried everyone at once.

    “You were all too late in your arrivals here to remember, but there is one foe that your senior most warriors do not lightly mention, one who nearly annihilated all of existence once, the one being that claimed five defense forces and many worlds before being halted,” said Super Shrew. “A force of darkness bigger than the sky itself, the Doom Star.”

    “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” came a roar from the back of the room, emanating from the mouth of Ray Captain. “Doom Star, must have been named by a five year old. Listen old man, you used to be bad, but take it from me, we can handle any stupid Doom Star, maybe you aught to… GAAH!”

    Ray had forgotten pain when he gave up the last of his true body, but Super Shrew had never forgotten how to inflict it. No effort, a mere twist of a wrist that could normally bend in any way imaginable without another thought, and yet at this moment Super Shrew was hurting Ray more than anything ever had. “Have you forgotten me boy? In all your searching for a way to surpass Shogun did you really forget the one being that did just that? For all the techniques you’ve stolen, all the powers you’ve copied, all the modifications you’ve made to your body, you could never hope to gain any further strength in the eyes of the truly powerful. But you have brought me to my next point, the end time draws near. If the earth, neigh, the universe and all things past it are to survive the weak amongst the defenders must be rooted out, so that they will not distract the strong from their task, farewell… boy.”

    Ray tried to scream, but no sound escaped before, with the slightest motion, Super Shrew tore his body apart, reducing it to nothingness, further even than the core elements that it had originated as. Super Shrew robbed it of its mystical force, insuring that Ray would not return. With a flick of his wrist and a flourish of his cape, Super Shrew had murdered Ray Captain. Screams and calls for readiness kicked up, but nothing could prepare them for the power Super Shrew now commanded.

    The battle lasted less than a minute. That’s all the time Super Shrew needed to rip them apart, reducing their numbers from a sturdy twelve to a battered and weary five. As Super Shrew tossed aside the body of the last to fall he looked upon the five that still drew breath, Kenshin, Savage, Warlock Lord, Crusader, and Liadan. One way or another they had all survived the onslaught he’d unleashed upon them, and now they stared blankly upon his mighty form and awaited him to make the next move.

    “Very well, you five will do, if you must,” said Super Shrew, and in a flare of strange green energy they all felt their strength not only return, but multiply. “The end is approaching, much faster than any of you realize. One of the pieces to Kain’s machine is all that stands between us and a battle that could knock the gods themselves from the heavens.”

    “But… there were two…” said Savage.

    “There were two, but you and yours all greatly under-estimated Dr. Antithesis. There are only two places the final component could possibly be, and those are the places where Kain and Antithesis toil personally to bring about the end of humanity as you know it,” said Super Shrew. “Given the might and location of those who are left I shall send you to face Kain with Meteorain and the others, I will break Antithesis myself, and retrieve the rest of your allies.”

    Before anyone could protest they were in the fortress Neifledarth, and Kain was winning…
     
  11. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Chapter 5: The Return of Fear

    The air itself seemed to move to avoid the clash when Thrall struck Antithesis’ shield. The villain slid back from the sheer force of the blow, but the recoil lasted only so long before Antithesis was back on the attack. He hurled a flask of a green liquid toward Thrall, but the super soldier easily avoided contact, then closed in and delivered a brutal kick to the villain. Antithesis hit the ground hard, but quickly flung himself back to his feet and drew his blade. Of everyone present Thrall was the only one Antithesis couldn’t think of an easy strategy for, and he’d been the one who came directly at him, this presented an interesting challenge for Antithesis, but a quick glance at the progress meter on his arm band, and he knew that soon the battle would be decisively in his favor.

    Elsewhere on the battlefield the Allied force had taken its first casualties. Samson had been quickly targeted and overwhelmed by what seemed to be the shock troops of Kain’s army. Overread and Running Wolf had followed shortly after during an attempt to dig Samson out. Rosgwak and Masque appeared to be the next targets selected for elimination, but their blades were swift and their intentions sat firmly in their minds, they wouldn’t be taken easily, but then, nothing with Kain involved was ever easy.

    Ender was struggling under the weight of the assault he faced from the Terra Former. This brute had managed to single handedly battle the entire defense force and Thrall at one point, even Liv in full library power had had a difficult time bringing him down, and it seemed that for all of his skill Ender wasn’t enough to take him alone. Luckily he wasn’t alone for long. Wolf, Herald of Woe, and Sor had all made their way rapidly to this area of the battlefield, and were bringing the fight to the former. Herald struck quickly, driving his glaive deep into the side of the creature, but with a brutal swing of his arm the Former sent him twisting through the air. Wolf prevented further damage by leaping forward and jabbing him in the eyes with her feet, then dashing away, but there was no escaping the powers of the Former here.

    The powerhouse clapped his hands and all at once the earth raised in towers of spikes that cut at the heroes. They avoided the brunt of this attack, but for Herald it didn’t end here. The Former had lifted a mountain with a thought, and with another he dropped it onto the head of the spear fighter, crushing him before he had a chance to scream. With a roar of anger Ender dove in, driving his heels into the head of the Former and driving him face first into the ground. The Former roared and flung Ender away in retaliation, then raised dozens of boulders from the ground, it seemed he’d been holding back on them last time.

    Rosgwak and Masque stood back to back as their struggle against the entire army continued. The Shining Knights had a special quality, called the Valiant Swords, which enabled them to fight better the greater the circumstances that stood against them. Yet somehow, this inherent ability was useless here. As more and more foes came toward them they began to falter, but despite this the Shining Knights didn’t fear, they didn’t worry, they didn’t bat an eye in the face of death, but they weren’t about to let these enemies get the better of them quite that easily.

    “Commander, these enemies are going to create a great deal of trouble for our allies if they’re allowed to continue to exist in such numbers,” said Ros.

    “Indeed, and it seems as if only that quiet fellow from Savage’s force is alive out of their number,” said Masque.

    “So then it stands to reason that, since our allies are engaged in battle with the mightiest of the enemy force, that we’re the only ones in position to try to stop the enemy’s search of that castle,” said Rosgwak.

    “Indeed, and that would mean we are honor bound to clear the field to allow our allies to work, and to get to that castle,” said Masque.

    “If only we had a means to rid ourselves of these lesser foes,” said Ros with a grin.

    “Indeed… if only,” chuckled Masque.

    “A shout to the heavens…” said Ros.

    “…For the glory of God,” finished Masque.

    “Scatter Brother Soul Blades!” shouted both Shining Knights as they threw their swords high into the air, where they multiplied ten thousand fold and fired off in all directions, decimating the enemy forces outside the castle to merely Antithesis and the Former. As their blades returned the Shining Knights rushed toward the castle.

    “Let us hope we need no spells within those walls,” said Masque.

    “Let’s just hope we’re not already too late,” said Ros.

    Thrall was oblivious to the death of the bulk of the enemy army. Thrall didn’t see the others battling desperately against the being that used the earth itself as a weapon. Even if he weren’t ignorant to their struggles, Thrall wouldn’t care. Single minded, single purposed, Thrall focused on one purpose at this moment, he would kill Antithesis if it were the last thing he did. He was the perfect soldier, his body had been conditioned to go beyond any standard that had existed before, and his mind had been programmed with every battle tactic and ability that Project Badass had been able to get their hands on. And with all of this, he couldn’t be talked into or out of anything. He only responded to orders and results, that was why Antithesis was having such trouble with him.

    The villain spun his shield and flung it at Thrall, but the super soldier dodged it and drove in. Antithesis raised his sword, narrowly blocking Thrall’s assault. They traded misses for a moment, before Thrall suddenly turned to catch the mighty shield mid flight. The weapon continued to spin for a moment, burning through Thrall’s armor before it came to a halt. Antithesis saw his chance, and took it. He swung his blade in a perfect motion, wind sang beautifully as his arc split it, and while the blade didn’t cut through Thrall’s head, it served to do something else. It finally answered one question, who was Thrall? His mask split and cracked as it shattered upon impact with Antithesis’ sword, and it began to fall away, revealing a face that the TFFers knew all too well.

    Several yards away Ender risked a glimpse over toward that battle, and a single word escaped his lips as a gasp escaped his lungs, “Shogun?”

    The mask fell away, and indeed, the man beneath it bore the same face as the fallen hero of Spamopolis, but Antithesis was anything but shocked. “I’d heard that there were two, I Am returned and fell again ages ago, what took you? Perhaps you’d been being groomed even before Savage fell into that coma?” But Thrall didn’t answer. He seemed not to notice that the helmet was gone, and immediately he had gone back on the attack.

    Unfortunately, that moment’s hesitation by Ender cost him dearly. The Former leapt into the air, and with a thunderous blow sent Ender crashing into the earth. Wolf quickly pulled Ender out of the way of the Former’s landing, but for her trouble, she would pay dearly. The Former’s hands clasped tightly around her body, his grip tightened until she could barely squirm, and then they tightened more. Wolf could manage no cry even if she had wanted to, there was no hero’s end for Wolf, merely the sound of breaking bones, and an explosion of flames that annihilated the hands of the Former, Wolf’s final act of heroism, activating her Call of the Wild with that little room had completely eliminated her body, but it had left the Former with no concentration to use him magic, and no hands with which to attack the heroes of TFF. The Former roared in agony, but with this final attack, Wolf cleared the way for her allies to strike at him with no defense, and so, in a matter of thirteen blows, the Former was felled, leaving only Antithesis on the outside of the castle.

    “Give it up Antithesis, you can’t beat all three of us!” called Ender.

    “That may have been so once Zero,” said Antithesis as he looked again at the progress band, a sound of overpowering confidence joining with his voice. “But unfortunately for you, I need not face you alone. Your knight friends did well, they caused my men a great deal of trouble, but in the end this is the way the universe is intended to die.” The progress bar came to completion, and there was a rumbling of earth. “Be grateful gentlemen, you’re about to be blessed with a vision of the completion of phase one of my master’s plan.”

    With a rumble and cracking of the earth the castle exploded in a violent flash of light. The ground smoked, the sky shook, but when their vision cleared the three remaining defenders bore witness to a sight both great and terrible. Antithesis stood high above them now. Supporting him was a being of pure chaos; its head a prismatic form, while its body seemed to simply be four roughly shaped appendages, present mostly to support that bizarre head. And its maw opened, and from it a beam began to gather, more powerful than anything the three could possibly hope to defend against right now. The air screamed as the blast fired, the three surviving only because of a luckily timed teleportation spell by Sorillon. It seemed Kain’s plans were coming to fruition, for the heroes of TFF had nearly been crushed by this being once before, and he still had another powerhouse that might soon join them. The earth cried, and the world knew fear unlike it had in ages. The /Umsmebr\ had returned from its prison dimension, and its power was far beyond what it had been once before.
     
  12. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Waiting to Begin

    Chapter 1: Shogun

    The city seemed as if smoke and steam still rose from the earth that morning. The chaos of the fighting had left more than half of the once majestic threads lying in ruins, and all of Kain’s army, save himself, Antithesis, and their latest recruit, the /Umsmebr\, as corpses. Furthermore the Defense Force had shrunk dramatically in number, from a small army to less than 20. Despite the lack of numbers they had power, and even the aid of one of the most powerful beings the world had ever known in the form of their ancient foe Super Shrew.

    There were a few days left before Kain and Antithesis would be able to summon the Doom Star… before the most desperate fight that TFF had ever had came. Faced with this level of danger, and knowing that Kain would strike through Spamopolis, the defense force sat, waiting for the hour of their greatest battle, their greatest triumph or tragedy, to come to pass. In the ruins of the once sentient library Liv sat atop one of the few desks that remained in tact, staring into the sky, her face so firmly fixed that it almost seemed as if she were counting the stars themselves, soon enough they could be no more, perhaps she felt someone should finally figure out how many there were.

    “Penny for your thoughts?” came the voice of a warrior she didn’t know well, although he had been to TFF many times before. His name was Ender Zero, and before he’d died, Shogun had considered Ender one of his closest allies, certainly he couldn’t be a bad man given that company.

    “It’s… nothing, just thinking about a dream I had,” said Liv.

    “A dream eh? Doesn’t sound like nothing to me,” said Ender. “Tell me about it.”

    “Well,” Liv began. “It was strange, all of us that are still alive were walking, like in a desert. Everyone looked so tired, and really beat up, like we just got done with a big fight. Then suddenly someone appeared, he almost looked like I. R.”

    “Almost?” said Ender.

    “Yeah, there were things about him that seemed just like Shogun, but then at the same time there were things about him that seemed nothing like the guy we all knew,” said Liv. “He said something about a big change, that nothing would ever be quite the same again, he wanted us to come with him, he said everyone was waiting for us.”

    “Was that it?” asked Ender.

    “No,” said Liv. “Someone said that they didn’t believe him, that there was no way he could be speaking the truth. They said that it was over, that we’d fought for nothing, they said that there was no point in it anymore.”

    “What did he say then?” asked Ender.

    “He just smiled and said, ‘Over? You should know that nothing is ever over,’” said Liv. “Then he extended his hand, the desert became a forest, I felt strong again, everyone looked so awestruck, and everything seemed so new. It was like Shogun made everything right again, just by willing it so. Then everyone else that’s died so far appeared, we were all so happy, but then I looked back at Shogun, he’d turned away from us.”

    “Then what happened?” asked Ender.

    “He said that something was coming, he sounded like he was talking to himself,” said Liv. “He said that things could happen so many ways, and that he had a feeling that there were only two ways that they would. I asked him what he meant, and then he turned and smiled to me, and said that it didn’t matter, everything would be alright. It always worked that way.”

    “Sounds like a prophetic dream,” said Ender.

    “What do you think it means?” asked Liv.

    “Well, the obvious one would be that we’re going to win, and that somehow everyone is going to come back to life,” said Ender. “But I’ve never known Shogun to make anything that simple.”

    “I never used to get prophetic dreams,” said Liv. “I used to not dream at all…”

    “When did you start?” asked Ender.

    “Right around the last tournament,” said Liv. “Padme said it was a sign of a great universal change.”

    “Guess she never figured just how universally,” said Ender.

    “Guess not,” said Liv.

    “Oh well, whatever it means, we’ll find out soon enough,” said Ender.

    “You’re sounding a lot like Shogun,” said Liv.

    “Just hope I don’t start looking like him,” said Ender with a slight chuckle, one that he heard Liv emulate. It was the first any of them had laughed since the end of the battle the day before.

    *************************************

    “I’ve been wondering Savage, how did you do it?” asked Super Shrew.

    “What do you mean?” asked Savage as he lit a cigar.

    “The clones I made were formed when Shogun was still a rather novice warrior when compared to the level of might he later attained. When Mad Jake resurrected the other one it was still bounds below how powerful he’d become. So how is it that you could take the clone that was still imperfect and put him on Meteorain’s level?” asked Super Shrew.

    “Between the power of Badass’ training, Mad Jake’s mental work, and all the tech we built into him, it wasn’t as great a task as it might seem,” said Savage.

    “I’m still rather impressed,” said Super Shrew. “It’s rare that someone is able to surpass my work.”

    “I’m flattered,” said Savage. “But to be fair, you’re the reason he ended up so powerful.”

    “How so?” asked Super Shrew.

    “Once I stamped out the defense force it would only be a matter of time before I had to set Thrall on you,” said Savage. “I needed someone capable of handling that type of situation as well as Shogun would be able to.”

    “If you want the clone to be able to overcome as Shogun did, then you’re still quite far off,” said Super Shrew.

    “Why’s that? Their power levels are the same, and Thrall’s fighting ability is higher,” said Savage.

    “That may be, but he’s missing the reason Shogun always triumphed,” said Super Shrew.

    “Which is?” asked Savage.

    “A reason,” said Super Shrew. “I knew Shogun better than anyone, Ender, Met, his wife, anyone. My powers dwarfed his, and yet in all of our battles Shogun was always able to triumph over me,” said Super Shrew. “He won because if he didn’t, no one else would be able to. Every time we fought Shogun was fighting to defend his entire world, his friends, his family, and everyone else that exists on this little mud ball. Certainly the other warriors on his team fought for the same thing, but there was something different about Shogun, a certain grander feeling to fighting him. For everything he was on his own, he fought for, and often with the power of all of those he cared about. He viewed the earth as his responsibility, and he really, more than anyone else, truly believed that it was his duty to save every possible life. That is something no other here has, something that cannot be programmed. The lack of that means that in all likelihood, this battle will be the last in history.”
     
  13. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Chapter 2: Walking With Giants

    Crusader. Of all of the remaining warriors working to defend TFF, and the world at large, he had been the only one present through every trial and cataclysm that had affected the land. His power was unique, in that he hadn’t gained a new special move in years, and yet he was still viewed as one of the wiliest and most skilled warriors TFF had ever known. His skin was hard as steel, even without the tremendous suit of armor he wore. He was one of the few warriors in the land who could stare Super Shrew eye to eye without straining his neck, and he was one of the few warriors who truly knew what it meant to walk on both sides of the moral tracks. Whenever it had come to a battle between good and evil, Crusader had always chosen Crusader.

    Now Crusader stood in the company of the two youngest defenders still alive at this point, Kakashi and Kenshin. Both warriors had shown incredible growth even just in the last year, and yet they looked to him still as if he were Hercules himself. Kenshin’s sword was the swiftest in the land, a thousand cuts could be made before most men could even raise a blade, and Kakashi had developed a mastery of many of Shogun’s old techniques, as well as a plethora of his own. Despite the differentials between their power levels and his Crusader didn’t like that they were so awestruck by him. Perhaps in the past he would have, but now, in these dire times, there was no time for hero worship.

    “Crusader, how do you think this battle is going to go?” asked Kakashi.

    “I wasn’t there to battle the Doom Star when it first threatened the multi-verse, but given the stakes of everything, we either win by a narrow margin, or every victory up until this point becomes meaningless,” said Crusader.

    “You don’t seem optimistic,” said Kenshin.

    “Unlike you lot on the Defense Force, I tend to grasp the gravity of a potential end to existence,” said Crusader. “This isn’t the simple old days when Met or Shogun could throw a big fireball and save the day. We’re facing off against something that beat five defense forces at once, a madman who shook off everything Met could throw at him, a man who has been able to handle large groups of TFFers alone, and the thing that killed Shogun the time it didn’t take. My suggestion, whether you think we’ll win or not, make peace with your gods and your family, you won’t get a second chance.”

    Hearing Crusader speak, his gritty voice speaking of the end as if they’d all already died, it made them long for those simpler days. Met was the titular leader of the Defense Force, but he’d never truly led them. The closest thing he’d ever shown to instructions were breaking off groups and telling people to get out of his way. Wolf had been a stronger leader, but things had never worked out the way they were supposed to when she made plans. Someone wouldn’t follow orders, the enemy movements would be a trap, a new villain would show up out of no where, it had been all Wolf could do to keep everyone alive. Neither of them had been able to take Shogun’s place, where it seemed like a goofy smile, dumb luck, and that silly piece of cloth he could do anything. Saving the world had been easy then.

    “You know Cru, when you set yourself up to lose like that, it gets really easy to achieve it,” said the gnome girl who had accompanied Crusader into town, Liadan was her name.

    “I find that looking at things as they are prepares you for the worst far better than assuming things will be alright,” said Crusader.

    “Just because Shogun’s not here to melt the ice around your heart doesn’t mean you have to rain on everyone’s parade,” said Liadan.

    “Even if he were, it wouldn’t help our odds that much,” said Crusader.

    “I’ll bet it’d make you feel better though,” said Liadan.

    “Doubtful,” said Crusader.

    “Come now knight,” came the voice of U. B. Shogun as she landed in their midst, apparently having heard some of the conversation. “He may not have been the most realistic person around, but I. R. had the unique ability to lift any spirit.”

    “Perhaps,” said Crusader. “But against three world killers, I find it hard to believe that even he could maintain a spirit of great cheer.”

    *************************************

    Sorillon had been sitting alone in the center of the town square for some hours now. His focus had been hard to achieve as of late, something that he attributed to the Library’s key power source becoming one with Liv. With all the wild wondrous thoughts she came up with, a creature such as Sor, single minded in purpose and execution, had a hard time keeping himself. That would be the easy conclusion, but Sor didn’t buy it. Liv and the Library were always the forces he’d been bound to. Why would them becoming one change him so? No, it was that building. Ten thousand times destroyed, only now did the damage show. He may have been a construct, but Sor had grown a heart it seemed. He was home sick already.

    “Why so glum skeleton?” asked the booming voice of Warlock Lord as he entered the square.

    Warlock Lord, the self-proclaimed god of the sea, lord of Spamlantis, and the most likely TFFer to commit treason aside from Ray Captain. He was a burly warrior, no doubt worthy of praise for his skill, but for all his might, he lacked something in terms of common sense. Most of his treachery had been committed while he was being used as a pawn of Super Shrew; it didn’t excuse the ease with which he fell for it, or the arrogance he exuded despite having never earned his rank.

    “I tend to view the impending doom of all species as a cause for sorrow,” said Sor.

    “Bah!” scoffed WL. “You think someone as pathetic as Kain will really be able to bring about an end? He’s just gotten lucky up until this point! He’s just been catching us by surprise; if he’d attacked the group I was with I would have taken him out with one punch! And this Doom Star BS? Don’t make me laugh! The only reason he was such a problem before was that the Defense Force was small and inexperienced. We’ll beat him easy this time!”

    “Don’t be so quick to speak about things you know nothing about,” said Sor.

    “What’s your problem? Don’t think you can handle it?” said Warlock.

    “He doesn’t think any of us can,” came the voice of Sevi, the ninja girl who’d arrived in town with Dragn some time before. Sor wondered how long she’d been there, listening to the flow of conversation.

    “Bah, if you’re too scared to help out skeleton let me know, I’ll put you down myself for warm ups!” laughed Warlock.

    “If I recall correctly I’ve beaten you numerous times in the past, I don’t think I’d have any trouble doing so again,” said Sor.

    “Hm? So you do want to fight then? Alright, stand up!” said Warlock, immediately going into a stance.

    “I thought you’d forgotten how to ask,” said Sor as he stood, his flames intensifying as he prepared to vent his recent frustrations.

    “Hey, you guys should be saving that for the enemy!” cried Sevi.

    “Come on skeleton, what’re you waiting for?!” growled WL.

    “The fool before me to charge,” replied Sor.

    “ENOUGH!” called a voice that immediately silenced all three of them. Shortly the warrior Ka’al appeared, his face set in a grim expression. “You two can settle these differences later. We all need to save our strength; I’m not going to let the world end because you two couldn’t get along for a few days. I’ve done too much to help this along already.”

    Warlock and Sor both immediately forgot their fight. The tone of Ka’al’s voice and the sorrow in his eyes melted away their anger and frustration. Ka’al’s words made it clear that he blamed himself for things coming to this. He believed that on that day a year and a half ago, the day that he’d killed the headband-bearing hero, he’d damned all of TFF. Somehow he believed that if Shogun had been here all this time things would have turned out differently, or at the very least, he believed Spamopolis would stand a chance.
     
  14. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Chapter 3: Moving On

    Of everyone still alive on the Defense Force, no one had given more blood and sweat to keep the forums safe than Meteorain. Granted the reasons the others fought tended to be for nobler causes, Met had never let things like valor stand in the way of a good fight. He was well known, and frankly greatly disliked, for the measure of his arrogance, and an ego that many considered even greater than that of the late I. R. Shogun. But Met didn’t care about what the others thought of him, and the status of his popularity was anything but important. All Met cared about was being the best, and now, as far as the proper defenders went, he was. Should the world end here, Met would welcome it, and the chance to battle Shogun again.

    “So what is it that you wanted to speak with me about?” asked the wizard who stood nearby, the sorcerer supreme, Dragn9. Dragn had been Shogun’s right hand in running the affairs of the Defense Force, and he’d been the number one council for most of the warriors on the team for as long as he’d been in Spamopolis. His power wasn’t on the same cosmic scale as Met’s, but he was still one of few that could hold their own against him in a battle, and one of the few that Met believed he could trust.

    “I don’t think I want to live through this battle,” said Met.

    “What?” was the only reply Dragn could come up with.

    “I think, that win or lose, I want to die when this is over,” said Met. “I think Super Shrew wants the same thing.”

    “What in the nine hells would possess you to want to die?” asked Dragn.

    “There’s nothing left here,” said Met. “The purest and best challenge I had is gone. Super Shrew no longer has an interest in Spamopolis, there’s nothing to hold me here anymore. I’ve become as strong as I can from what exists here, only in the next life can I find those great warriors of yesteryear of whom the legends speak.”

    “That’s insane,” said Dragn.

    “To most people it would seem that way,” said Met. “But to one who has lived his entire life thirsty for battle, hungering for the next challenge, striving to be the best only to realize the loneliness of that title, it couldn’t make more sense. When there’s no more room for advancement one way, a warrior moves another way to continue to grow. When you can no longer grow, you die. And that’s what I plan to do.”

    “What about TFF? What about the defense force? If we beat Kain then there’s a damn good possibility that someone just as bad will come along, and if you leave us then there won’t be anyone to lead us through it,” said Dragn.

    “You know as well as I do no one looks to me for leadership. I’m here to break skulls, and without your number one skull cracker you’re worried that the defense force will get crushed,” said Met. “You sell yourself and all of them short Dragn. Each and every one of them is strong enough to prevail in any battles that will follow this one. They just need that strong leader that they lost with Wolf and Shogun. They need you Dragn.”

    “Why me?” asked Dragn.

    “Think about it,” said Met. “You were more or less running things while Shogun was around. You know how to recognize and train the potential on everyone. You may spend more time looking in a mirror than into the future, but you’re the only one left who’s fit to lead this force.”

    “I may be handsome, but I don’t think that qualifies me for a role like this,” said Dragn.

    “You’re the senior most member on the team, and the only member who’s universally respected by everyone, they’ll all follow you, stop being stupid and accept the damn role that’s eventually going to be yours regardless,” said Met.

    Dragn sighed; he didn’t want to be the leader. He didn’t want all eyes to be fixed upon him. He didn’t like the thought of all that pressure. Others had thrived on it, on having the fate of the world ultimately rest in their decisions, but Dragn wasn’t one of them. Extremus, Shogun, Wolf, hell even Savage, all of them had been born to take command and lead others forward, Dragn had been born to help the leader make the right choices, but not to take the fall for them. But he knew he had no choice, Met was right, there was no one else they would all listen to. He had to accept command. “Fine,” said Dragn. “But I won’t like it.”

    “It doesn’t matter if you like it or not,” said Met. “You weren’t getting a choice, I was going to make the announcement tomorrow before the battle anyway.”

    *********************************************

    In the land of TFF there were millions of women, in the entire world billions. However despite those numbers few had made as much of an impact on the land of TFF as Lady Cyllieth and Disco Jezebel. One had been one of the premier members of the TFF Defense Force and half of the longest reigning and greatest tag team of all time; the other had been the wife and supporter of one of the most legendary warriors that the world had ever known. They had both lost something precious in Shogun, and then they’d lost something even more precious in Firiath. Shogun had been a mighty hero, but everyone expected him to die in combat, they’d all thought Firiath would be with them forever, it seemed that had not come to pass.

    “I don’t think we’ll be able to win this time,” said Cylli.

    “Don’t’ say that!” scolded Jeze. “None of the fallen would forgive you for saying something like that.”

    “Just how would you know what the fallen would say? How did you get a chance to know their feelings while you were so far away all this time?” snapped Cylli, leaving a shocked expression on Jeze’s face. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that…”

    “You’re right though,” said Jeze. “I’ve been gone for far too long. I probably wouldn’t have stayed for long at all the first time if not for him, and I guess with him gone, there was really nothing to keep me here.”

    “You can’t be blamed for going out into the world,” said Cylli. “It would be wrong of us to be mad for you wanting to pursue your life the way it was before you met us.”

    “I don’t think it can be that easy to let me free of blame,” said Jeze. “It’s just, this place reminds me of him.”

    “How can’t it, at the end of the day, Spamopolis, and to some degree all of TFF, were Shogun’s, and in some way, were defined by Shogun,” said Cyllieth. “To this day a lot of people still call it Shogun country, even though up until his sister and cousin showed up he was the only one who’d ever been here.”

    “Still, if there’s anything I think he wanted the world to know, for me to know, it’s that you shouldn’t try to run away from problems and your past,” said Jeze. “He always felt that the only way to be happy was to face them head on, to try to make things right. To be a stronger person by looking at what was wrong with the world, and changing what you could, but accepting what had to be.”

    “Maybe,” said Cyllieth. “But I don’t think he’d blame you for wanting to recapture everything you’d had before you met him either.”

    “I don’t think he would, or if he did he wouldn’t admit it,” said Jeze.

    “He’d just try to make the best of it, and to move on,” said Cylli.

    “It takes a long time to move on from things like this though,” said Jeze. “TFF still hasn’t completely moved on from him.”

    “We’re going to have to if we want to make it through here,” said Cylli.

    “At least, move on from feeling like we need him here physically,” said Jeze.

    “Yeah, just that spirit of his would be enough,” said Cylli. “More than anything I wish she was here.”

    “I don’t know why, but I get the feeling that if she was, everyone would be a lot more confident about what’s going to happen,” said Jeze.

    “They wouldn’t just be confident,” said Cylli. “They’d be stronger. Firi was always more of a morale booster than Shogun. And through it all, she’d always seemed to be his biggest booster, besides maybe you.”

    “I just hope the thought of avenging them will do enough to substitute for them being gone,” said Jeze.

    “Don’t we all,” said Cylli. “Don’t we all…”
     
  15. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    The End of Days:
    Chapter 1: Seven Thunders Utter Their Voice

    Met was the first one to get up that day. Sleep had come with surprising ease, for all of them, but especially for Met. It was strange, that had never happened before when the end of the world was coming. Maybe there was just a strange ease to this one, maybe this time they’d all sleep forever, and his body just wanted to get a little practice. If that was the case then so be it, he’d die feeling more alive than he’d felt in a thousand battles, save one. It was hard to believe it had been that long ago, but even though years had passed since that day, he remembered it as if it had been mere moments ago. That first fight with Shogun, he’d just gotten done busting some small time crook and Met had called him out. Met had gotten a good taste of battle from Ender, but he could literally feel Shogun’s fighting spirit, Shogun was different from Ender, Shogun was different from everyone.

    He’d always walked a strange line, a strong tight rope between preserving the millions of lives he felt responsible for defending, and smashing everything around him to quench his never-ending thirst for battle. All of the Shoguns were like that to a degree, torn between the devil bear’s blood and that sense of defending the defenseless that they felt was their duty after all the evil their ancestors had caused. Being an X Shogun, the strongest of his generation, I. R. had been the most strongly pulled in both directions. Were it not for the demon his father had become because he was too weak, I. R. could very well have become a greater force for evil than Super Shrew. But he didn’t.

    In their thirst for combat Shogun and Met were similar, as they were in their pride, but beyond that, they were really strikingly different. Met didn’t care about justice, nor innocents, nor any sort of code of honor. Certain acts he saw as abhorrent, and so he would stop them, but beyond that, all he wanted was to fight, and fight, and keep fighting until he was either the best, or dead. As it so happened, there were just more strong enemies of good than there were of evil, so it only made sense to go to the one place where they would come to him.

    But now, it seemed like that thirst for combat had put him, put all of them, in a unique predicament. There was no shining leader to convince them that it would be alright, and there were several villains on the other side that were more than capable of taking a big chunk of what was left of the Defense Force before they went out. Met knew he couldn’t inspire the others, there was only one man that could, but long ago, long before he’d died, Shogun had given Met something to remind everyone of what it was that they fought for. A piece of cloth he hadn’t worn since the evil intent of the devil bear had been purged from his soul, bloody, ragged, and old, but it would remind them that in the end they fought to keep each other alive, and to keep the world alive, no matter what the cost. As Met tied the headband on he couldn’t help but feel like a bit of an idiot, but if Shogun could bear to wear this thing every day, if all of the Shoguns could, then damn it if Met couldn’t do it just as good.

    “Meteorain,” came the voice of Super Shrew from his side. “It’s a powerful gesture. Strange that for once I wish that imbecile was here. I suppose you will do well enough. I wonder if your team will as well.”

    “You bet your ass we do,” said Dragn as he and the rest of the Defense Force arrived, each one wearing a headband of their own, courtesy of U. B. “I just wish he could pull it off as well as I do.”

    “I don’t think the glamour of it is quite what you should all be after,” said Savage over their communicators, the sky suddenly darkened by two silhouettes, each the size of a house, as Savage and Thrall landed in two tremendous Mechs. “Say hello to Defender and Shield, the last big toys Mad Jake was able to make for me before Kain’s goons found my base.”

    “Wonderful, because Jake’s machines have proven so effective in the past,” scoffed Super Shrew.

    “Any boost is a positive one,” said Crusader. “Let’s just hope it’ll be enough of one.”

    “We’ll find out soon enough, here he comes,” said Kakashi, pointing into the distance to where Kain and Antithesis made their way there atop the back of the /Umsmebr\.

    When they were within earshot Kain took the opportunity to speak. “My what a sight, the TFF Defense Force banding together under the flag of their sainted leader, and united with their greatest foe for the common goal of defeating the man who proved better than any of them. Super Shrew, I’m honored that you chose to be present for this, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”

    “Of coarse it is,” said Super Shrew. “Every idiot with a half-brained scheme and hopes of world conquest strives to one day be in the presence of the best that’s ever been.”

    “Funny that you should mention that, how many TFFers have you killed, defeated, captured, enslaved, or otherwise broken? Look upon me Shrew and know your better, my forces have murdered dozens of TFFers, the /Umsmebr\ here was the first to kill I. R. Shogun, and now that all the players are gathered, I will show you my power piece, the being that killed universes before the TFFers lucked out, the creature that beat the bulk of five defense forces where you have killed none, the DOOM-STAR!” chuckled Kain, but Super Shrew stepped forward.

    “How do you plan to do that without this little trinket?” asked Super Shrew, revealing the urn that Kain had gathered from the Fortress Neifledarth days earlier.

    “What? How did you get that?!” demanded Kain.

    “I’m the best that there is in the evil game boy, drawn out speeches are for those in the advantage,” said Super Shrew as he crushed the urn.

    “Well that’s… oh no… I… sorry Super Shrew, the game has changed, you’ve been dethroned, I’m the king of the villains,” said Kain as he revealed what had been of real importance in that item, a small dart, which he then threw into the head of the /Umsmebr\. “I’ve planned a bit further ahead than you managed to, relic.”

    The monster roared and staggered. Dr. Antithesis leapt down and stood next to Kain as the /Umsmebr\ stood on its hind legs and let out one final agonized cry as its body began to tear itself apart, releasing an incalculable amount of energy that gathered above them, covering the sky with its mass. “Antithesis, the final component,” said Kain as he held out his hand to his right hand man.

    “I’m sorry master, but I won’t be doing that,” said Antithesis as he drew his sword and suddenly drove it through the heart of Kain.

    “Wha?! Insolent fool! How dare you?!” growled Kain through the pain.

    “Simple, I know the way this villain thing works better than you do,” answered Antithesis. “I wouldn’t benefit from any of this if I allowed you to become the Doom-Star… but if I was to do so…”

    “Why ins’t anyone stopping them?!” growled Savage.

    “I can’t… move,” grunted Met under the strain of the immeasurable power in the air.

    “Oh that,” said Antithesis as he suddenly wrenched his sword free of Kain’s body, leaving him to collapse onto the ground in a heap. “All of the warriors to serve under Kain were conditioned with a bit of the /Umsmebr\’s essence, to allow them to handle this moment when its power was able to be manipulated. All of this energy is necessary to create a rift between here and the sector of the afterlife that now contains the Doom-Star. Finally, a host with such an essence is necessary to be bound to the Doom-Star and give it new life. That host was originally intended to be my former employer, but as you can see that plan fell through, leaving only one adequate substitute. It’s been fun TFFers, I’m glad you were the ones that made it to this point, it means so much more to me that I would be the one to finally trample you all under foot, and achieve my aims as the next cycle of existence begins again.”

    “You bastard, talking about us like we’re nothing! I’ll kill you!” said Met.

    “Please leave my parents out of this,” said Antithesis as he pulled out a strange serum and chanted in an alien tongue. The energy in the air began to swirl as it poured itself into him. His body quickly became too weak to hold together and vanished into nothingness, leaving nothing but his screaming essence as it warped and twisted. It grew and shifted until it took on a recognizable form. Its body was a large platform from which a humanoid torso came forth. Its hands were massive spiked balls and a single cannon was present in the center of its chest. Its face was blank, a void as dark as a starless night’s sky. The sky roared with a noise louder than thunder and space seemed to crack in the monster’s aura as the universe again knew fear beyond anything before. The Defenders looked upon evil unlike anything most of them had ever even begun to fathom, they looked upon the most powerful entity of destruction in the universe, they looked upon the Doom-Star, living again.
     
  16. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Chapter 2: The End

    No sooner than it had been reborn into the universe, the Doom-Star set about going toward its ultimate goal, the destruction of all life in the universe, which would begin with the death of its cornerstone, the planet earth. The monster swung a massive arm, crashing through soil and stone, destroying all that fell into its path, but the TFFers were unshaken by the awe inspiring display of might that left all of Spamopolis’ main street a steaming crater. Savage and Thrall drove forth in their mechs, supported by a series of massive energy blasts fired by Met and Super Shrew.

    The two last warriors of Project Badass struck at the destroyer for all that they were worth, even managing to crack the beast’s armor with the power of the arsenals that they bore, but in the end the mechs didn’t possess the capability to do more than aggravate the being. Dozens of beams of light gathered into the chest of the Doom-Star, the cannon that could annihilate a million worlds was about to be fired for the first time in years. But as the Doom-Star prepared to fire its Destructo-Beam-Cannon Savage and Thrall immediately flew forth in their mechs. The initial assault did nothing, but as they activated their self-destruct devices they knew that they would die delaying the firing of that cannon which would have ended the lives of all of the other TFFers for sure.

    “Damn it people, we can’t wait in a line like this, all remaining TFFers, attack!” shouted Dragn, the resolve in his voice snapping everyone out of their awestruck state. Immediately the assault began, those that could fly took to the air, those that couldn’t, fired every projectile they had.

    Kenshin found himself, through grace of an impossible jump, on the platform that made the body of the being. Unfortunately for Kenshin, no one knew that the platform was kept defended by an army of shadow beings that ripped him apart from the legs up, though not before he drove his blade into the body of the creature, and with his last breath, blasted a massive hole into the abdomen of this horror that threatened to destroy everything that he had loved in the world. This was Kenshin’s final gift to his friends, he only hoped they would be able to make some use of it.

    U. B. Shogun, sister of that fallen legend everyone is quite tired of hearing about by now, did her little brother proud. She was the older of the two, but I. R. had always been smiled upon more by their instructors, only the fact that he always looked to her as the last real family he had, as the one to whom he was responsible, had kept her from being driven to bitterness. That aside her blasts seemed enhanced by some unseen force, to the point where the Doom-Star seemed to almost move itself to avoid being struck. Her grief, her desperation, her heartache over everyone who had fallen up until now, seemed to be flying forth now in a shower of might, but the Doom-Star was not so foolish as to permit this to continue. With a glance the monstrosity fired a beam capable of extinguishing a star. Her death was painless, it lasted less than a second, but the final blast that left her palms seemed somehow amplified by the force of the assault, causing the demon to be visibly shaken by its impact, halting it from further action for a few moments.

    On the ground Disco Jezebel birthed her most massive creation ever. Her power, her Soul of the Artist, summoned a real form, identical to another world-shaking terror, defeated around the same time as the first Doom-Star, that of the terrible Umber Hitler. The creation traded blows with the horrible Doom-Star for but a moment before the sheer power of the Doom-Star overwhelmed Jeze’s ability to focus on keeping the creation alive. In a last ditch effort to give the others some aid, she poured forth all of the energy she still had into creating some manner of armor for them all. As the armor appeared Jeze vanished, gone from the world as the earth began to vanish under the strain of the massive power of the Doom-Star.

    Warlock Lord, the God of the Seas, had always wanted to prove himself as the mightiest defender of TFF. He never truly grasped that the measure of a god is ultimately the amount of faith others place in them. Luckily for Warlock Lord, his people, the people of Spamlantis, while knowing that he would die here, believed he had more than enough strength to harm the Doom-Star. And so, converting his body to a living force of oceanic might he crashed into the opening Kenshin had created. He swirled and raged and thrashed within the body of the Doom-Star. His body rapidly dissipated, but not before he’d caused significant damage to the interior of the creature, and in doing so, allowed the others to continue their bombardment of the outside.

    Now the clock of doom ticked for a pair of young ninja. One trained under Shogun, the other a wanderer, who had only recently begun to call TFF her home, together they fought, together they would die, but not without a fight. Kakashi’s fist burned red as he called forth all of the energies of all of the Shogun clan that had perished for the cause of the earth’s defenses. Sevi’s legs glowed white as she asked her ancestors for the strength to give the others a chance to save the world from the fate that seemed destined for it. The two exploded toward the Doom Star at once, their voices speaking at once, their words were different, but their intent, and the level of their sacrifices were perfectly identical.

    “This fist of mine seeks justice, with it I shall strike down evil, and then forge a new day!” called Kakashi, saying that ancient chant that normally accompanied the Atomic Dynasty Fist, but that few had heard since the first time it had been used in Spamopolis.

    “These legs run toward a brighter future, on the mark, Blinding Triumph Kick!” said Sevi, evoking the chant of her own clan as she flew toward the Doom-Star. Their attacks landed in the same moment, each breaking away the armor that surrounded the sides of the Doom-Star. The howl that came from the mouth of the being shattered what remained of the earth, but somehow the remaining defenders were able to fight on. They knew that it was because they had to, for the sake of all of existence, they knew it was to avenge Kakashi and Sevi, who were shattered along with the defenses of the Doom-Star.

    Unfortunately now it seemed as though the Doom-Star had no use for armor. Its core sent forth a powerful wall of energy that kept the defenders at bay. With no means to strike it they could make no difference, more blood was required. Luckily Crusader and Liadan, that classic antagonistic duo, were able to come to one agreement. The world was ended, the universe would soon follow, but they couldn’t help but try to give the others a chance to save everything. They touched hands and instantly both became a single entity of pure energy. With a force of motion that moved faster than anything else ever could they punched right through the shield and drove their way into the heart of the Doom-Star, leaving an opening that only one TFFer had the position to take advantage of, Cyllieth.

    “Firiath… I’m coming…” said Cylli as she pointed her mechanical hand toward that horrific thing that had destroyed their world, the cause of all of her suffering. She flew forward in a way that was neither fast, nor agile, but nothing that the Doom-Star attempted to put before her could hope to stand in her way. As she reached the heart of the monster she unleashed the Cylli-ng Slash. Another roar escaped the Doom-Star as half of what remained of its body detonated and was rejected from what remained of its main form. Now only seven remained, but the Doom-Star was far from defeated.

    “You who would make himself a god, why do you oppose me?” rumbled a voice as inhuman as time itself, seemingly originating from the Doom-Star.

    “They are mine to destroy, I would permit no other to interfere,” said Super Shrew.

    “Are you truly interfering if you join me now? Your powers and mine, together not a thing in any universe could ever hope to exist against us, join me, give me the power to end life once and for all,” said the Doom Star.

    “I fail to see why adding myself to you is advantageous to me,” said Super Shrew.

    “Then you leave me no recourse. The darkness of your soul makes you mine, and so, now you will return to me, to the darkness from whence the being that made Count Von Badguy into Super Shrew was born!” rumbled the Doom-Star. Without further ado Super Shrew vanished from sight, and while he was far from completed, the Doom-Star recovered enough to make all hope seem to vanish from the minds of the heroes.

    “Well, what now?” asked Ender.

    “Only one thing, we put forth everything we have left, to end this once and for all,” said Dragn. “The world is gone, the universe isn’t, I… we’re leaving this to you guys.”

    “We?” asked Met, Liv, Ender, and Ka’al as Dragn and Sor suddenly began to glow green, and like a bullet they shot forward, crashing into the heart of what remained of the Doom-Star with all the raw essence of magic, reducing the being to what it had been before the assimilation of Super Shrew. The remaining four fired with everything that they had at the demon, but their attacks seemed to vanish before striking it, deflected by an unseen power that emanated from it, and seemed to begin to gather into one final Destructo-Beam-Cannon blast.

    “Gods,” muttered Met as the demon roared yet again, “How the hell do we finish this?”

    “I think… I know…” said Ka’al.

    “Speak up then!” demanded Ender.

    “My powers, I can reverse, change the effects of any attack that strikes me,” Ka’al said. “If I can absorb that blast… maybe I can stop it from being the end, maybe I can change it to be something, that doesn’t wipe out existence.”

    “Then what do we do?” asked Liv.

    “Well, that much power coming from one side would overwhelm me, I need you guys, to put all of your energy into one massive attack, like the others have been doing, and fire it at me at the same time as that cannon shoots,” said Ka’al.

    “There’s no way that’ll work,” said Met.

    “I don’t see you coming up with any better theories,” said Liv.

    “We’ll do it,” said Ender.

    “Okay,” said Ka’al. “But before we do, I want to thank you all, the Defense Force has been the closest things to friends I’ve ever had, that says a lot about you, especially after what I did back then. I hope that, in some way, whatever effects my powers take on, that you people will be there, on the other side, and that you’ll be able to forgive me, that he’ll be able to forgive me.”

    “Shut up and get ready,” said Met. “We don’t got all the time in the world, just what time’s left.”

    Ka’al nodded and took his position. Met, Liv and Ender all took theirs and focused their energy into a single point, and prepared to fire. Ka’al gathered a wall of energy around himself as the two attacks on opposite sides of him were prepared for initiation. In their own minds the final four heroes made their final thoughts, final prayers, final hopes, and in an instant both attacks were fired. Met, Liv, and Ender vanished into their attacks as they rushed forward, the space beyond the Doom-Star went white as its shot fired, and all of the great power gathered in that moment collided into the body of Ka’al. In an instant he was reduced to a singularity, but his power lived on for a brief moment, reshaping, remolding, recoding the effects of those blasts. As the universe screamed and dissipated under the strain of that massive release it was suddenly reborn in a brilliant white light. Things moved, time shifted, all things that had once made up a brilliant multiverse now came together in a new single form, peripherated by slightly altered iterations of itself. And in many of them things came to a state we would call normal. But in one in particular, a new TFF was born, and a new Tale began…